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The Museum of Island History at Newport Guildhall and Newport Roman Villa will be opening free of charge on set days in September.

The attractions are among more than 5,000 properties across the country to be opening their doors as part of Heritage Open Days 2019. The Museum of Island History will be open for free on Friday 20th September between 10:30 and 15:00.

On display is the new exhibition: ‘A Tale of Two Shipwrecks’, exploring 2 very different shipwrecks located off the Isle of Wight – the HMS Pomone and the Yarmouth Roads Wreck.

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HMS Pomone was wrecked off the Needles in 1811. There are incredible artefacts on display which belonged to members of the ship’s crew and passengers including a pair of sugar tongs, part of a sextant, and a syringe from a doctor’s kit. The loss of the Pomone is documented through extensive letters and diaries that bring alive the events of the fateful night and provide an insight into the characters on board.

The exhibition will also tell the tale of the Yarmouth Roads Wreck. This mystery ship is thought to be a late 16th century Spanish merchant carrack and is located just off Yarmouth Pier, marked by a large yellow buoy.

Visitors’ archaeological finds can be examined by Frank Basford from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, while other artefacts found on the Isle of Wight can be viewed and explored ‘hands on’.

Newport Roman Villa, in Cypress Road, Newport, will be open free of charge on Saturday 21st September between 10:30 and 15:00.

The incredible remains of this Roman farmhouse are hidden away on the outskirts of Newport and were discovered in 1926. The Roman Villa has one of the best examples of a Roman bath suite in Southern England. Heritage Service staff will be on site to show you around and there will be a photo hunt and craft activities for families.

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Both days have been organised by the Isle of Wight Council’s Heritage Service.

Councillor John Hobart, Cabinet member for environment and heritage, said:

“Our heritage service provides a great introduction to Island history and culture. I would like to invite residents and tourists alike, especially if they have never been before, to take advantage of the opportunity to find out more, for free, about our history.

“I’m particularly looking forward to viewing the new shipwreck exhibition – our Island has always had a long and varied marine history. Once again, our hard-working staff have provided some fantastic activities and events, open to all, for this annual event.”

Heritage Open Days is England’s largest festival of history and culture, bringing together over 2,500 organisations, 5,000 events and 40,000 volunteers. Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. This year is the 25th anniversary of the national scheme.

For more information contact [email protected] or call 01983 823433 or visit the website at www.iwight.com/museums.

You can also contact Visit Isle of Wight’s Newport Visitor Information Centre on (01983) 521555, ext 32. To contact Newport Roman Villa call 01983 529720.

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