You may have thought that moving the prize exhibit from a museum, in fact the very exhibit that the museum is named after, might have suggested that it wouldn’t have much of a future left.
However, with the Nautical Museum, commonly known as the Peggy Museum, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Nautical Museum, situated in the historic Bridge Street, Castletown, has undergone extensive restoration in the months since the boat Peggy was painstakingly lifted from her resting place of more than 100 years.
In its place, the museum tells the tale of the lifetime of the infamous George Quayle, politician, banker, ex-soldier, genius inventor and, as legend would have it, someone who was partial to a bit of smuggling here and there.
The first gallery contains relics belonging to Quayle, as well as items similar to those a man of his position would have been expected to carry. A replica of his helmet and other pieces of his uniform from his days as a Dragoon officer are on display, alongside an array of pistols.
Further on, the finds obtained from the archaeological excavation of the boatyard are there to be seen. Pistol mechanisms, iron weights, items of porcelain ware and remarkably well preserved jugs and bowls cast a glimpse into the everyday life in the late 18th century.
There are even the remains of a telescope, possibly belonging to Quayle, found buried.
He was born in a time of great international upheaval, where modern day boundaries and nations were being created and imperial wars raged across most of the continents, which is illustrated by a timeline down one side of the wall, in amongst portraits of Quayle and his family.
There is also plenty for younger visitors to do, with costumes and plenty of interactive features to keep kids happy and entertained.
The familiar upper room, with its Cabin-built style and craftily-hidden secret passages remains unchanged, as does the Boathouse, which is now dry and gives a clear picture of where the boat was stored and hidden for 100 years.
The biggest change is the dry dock. Now excavated, you can see how complex the building was, employing a mechanism similar to a canal lock to allow the boat into the dock, and then up into the boatyard. It is fascinating, and testimony to the ingenuity to the people who built it nearly 300 years ago that it is still there to be seen.
Obviously the only thing that isn’t there is the Peggy herself, but there is plenty of detail on the boat, and also on the operation to move her out of the dock and over the building to her latest resting place. Hopefully it won’t be too long before this amazing piece of Manx nautical history will be back on display again.
However, the Nautical Museum still has plenty to offer, and will make for a full afternoon’s entertainment.