Children from across the North East are set for a true maritime experience during the school holidays through The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) Hartlepool.

New for 2018, families will be able to come along and participate in animal handling each Friday throughout the summer holidays. Guests will be able to pet the kinds of animals that would have been found on board His Majesty’s Ships in the 1800s.

The animal handling sessions form part of a summer programme, which includes a series of creative drop-in sessions taking place from 31st July and throughout August involving activities inspired by famous explorer Captain James Cook, and the history of the Royal Navy.

Animal Handling sessions

  • Every Friday from 27th July to 31st August – 10am-4pm

The drop-in sessions are based on four themes, including:

People of the Pacific Islands

  • Tuesday 31st July – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm
  • Thursday 2nd August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm

During this workshop, guests will learn more about the Pacific Islands culture and will have the opportunity to use traditional designs to make their own faux bone charms from clay.

Tattoos of the Royal Navy

  • Tuesday 7th August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm
  • Thursday 9th August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm

People will have the chance to discover the history of the people of Polynesia and their tattoos, and how they influenced the designs worn by Captain Cook’s crew. Visitors will get the chance to design their own tattoos and have them temporarily painted on.

Captain Cook in Hawaii

  • Tuesday 14th August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm
  • Thursday 16th August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm

During this workshop, people will be taught about Hawaiian culture and be tasked with making Leis – traditional floral gifts that are given to visitors to the island.

Aboriginal Art

  • Tuesday 21st August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm
  • Thursday 23rd August – 11am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm

The final workshops will focus on aboriginal art and visitors to NMRN Hartlepool will put their creativity to the test by painting their own aboriginal inspired pictures or making their very own boomerang!

The NMRN is also hosting Hartlepool’s inaugural rum festival on 11th August from 7pm-11pm, with a large selection of rums available for visitors to sample, among a range of masterclasses and activities taking place on the evening.

HMS Trincomalee, which is docked at the NMRN Hartlepool site on Jackson Dock, in the town, is the oldest warship still afloat in Europe and forms part of the NMRN’s historic fleet, alongside HMS Victory, submarine HMS Alliance and Belfast’s First World War survivor, HMS Caroline.

Roslyn Adamson, General Manager of the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool, said: “We are delighted to be delivering animal handling sessions this year. There are many stories to be told of animals on-board ships and it’s a really nice way of bringing those to life for our younger visitors. Combined with our programme of drop-in activities there will be lots for families to do throughout the summer here at the museum.

“Visitors who have a National Membership with us or who Gift Aid their ticket on entry now get free access all year, so the summer programme offers even greater value for money for families trying to entertain children over the holidays.”

For further information about the summer programme and/or rum festival, contact 01429 860 077 or visit

There is no additional cost to attend the drop-in sessions if visitors a valid ticket or membership to the site and there is no need to book in advance.