The Box gets set for launch
The Box, Plymouth’s major new museum, gallery and archive, launches on Tuesday 29 September and will be the largest cultural attraction to open in the UK this year.
Nine permanent galleries will showcase the city’s incredible art, natural history, human history, film, photographic and archive collections. Three major exhibitions will highlight the Mayflower 400 anniversary and contemporary art by international artists.
In preparation for opening, a number of safety and social distancing measures have been put in place including an easy to follow booking system. All visits must be pre-booked. Opening hours will be 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday.
The Box is Plymouth’s new £40+ million cultural destination – opening in 2020. A place where heritage meets contemporary art; where archives meet interaction; and where the Mayflower meets a mammoth. A museum, gallery and archive. A cafe and bar. A place that you can make your own, and where there's always something new to discover.
The original City Museum and Art Gallery has been completely transformed and extended to combine the Edwardian building with the former City Library and St Luke’s church. The Box also features a striking elevated ‘archive in the sky’ with research and learning facilities, along with a major new public square for gigs, performance, theatre and events.
The Box brings six outstanding collections together, all of which are showcased in a series of exciting spaces.
On arrival you’ll be greeted by 14 phenomenal ship’s figureheads. Dating from the 1800s these giant wooden sculptures have been restored and reimagined in a unique suspended display that ‘sails’ across the main entrance.
You’ll find The Box Bar & Kitchen here too with its locally inspired menus, great breakfast selection, afternoon teas and Sunday roasts.
Discover the beauty and diversity of nature in the Mammoth gallery which features over 3,000 natural history specimens. Travel back in time and come face to face with animals that lived in Plymouth 35,000 years ago. Learn more about biodiversity, evolution, climate change, marine life and the South West’s rich mining history.
Explore some of the momentous and notorious voyages that began in Plymouth in the 100 Journeys gallery, the centrepiece of which is a striking animated globe and interactive touchscreens that help you explore even further. Then, immerse yourself in the city’s ongoing relationship with the sea from the Bronze Age to the present day in the Port of Plymouth gallery.
See some fascinating items the city’s archives and discover how these and other archival materials help shed light on Plymouth’s history in the Active Archives gallery. You’ll also encounter the figureheads again – this time at eye level.
When they’re not on display you can access the collections in support of your research via the Cottonian Research Room, as well as see selected highlights from the nationally important Cottonian Collection.
View thought-provoking photographic displays and see highlights from community engagement projects in the Photo Album gallery.
Celebrate the technologies, processes and people that have shaped the South West’s visual and audio-visual heritage in the Media Lab. More than 1,000 images and moving images, along with 300 objects from our social history, archive and moving image collections have been brought together for this fascinating space.
The Box will also have an ambitious exhibition programme running throughout the year. International artists including Portugal’s Leonor Antunes, Austria’s Eva Grubinger, Brazil’s Alexandre da Cunha, America’s Christopher Baker and Kehinde Wiley will all have work on show from May 2020.
A grand display of paintings of Plymouth, a showcase of three centuries of artistic production by the likes of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Robert Lenkiewicz, Stanhope Forbes and Barbara Hepworth plus a mass display of over 350 decorative art items can all be seen in The Salon.
‘Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’ is an epic journey of survival, imagination and 400 years of America. This major exhibition will run into 2021 and has been created in partnership with the Wampanoag Advisory Committee to Plymouth 400 in Massachusetts, and with the help of over 100 museums, libraries and archives across the UK, US and The Netherlands.
Many objects are coming to Plymouth for the first time, or returning to the city for the first time in 400 years. The exhibition uses them alongside images and ideas to explore early English attempts to colonise America, acknowledge conflict with Native America and explore the impact of colonisation on the indigenous population.
‘Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy’ also discusses the context of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620, details the lives of the passengers, and considers the cultural, demographic and personal legacies of the story.
These exciting permanent galleries and exhibitions combined with great food and drink, a shop, a public square and a vibrant events programme make The Box an incredible place to visit. Come along from May 2020 and experience it for yourselves.c
General Admission is free.
Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition is £5 and free for Plymouth Residents (upon receipt of a valid Council Tax bill) and under 16s.
We’ll be offering an extensive events programme throughout the year. Events will be priced individually and details will be available from our website
If you’re driving, The Box is easy to find with plenty of signage in and around the city.
Follow the signs to the city centre and head for the Charles Cross roundabout (the one with the ruined church on it). Follow the brown tourism signs and turn on to Hampton Street. At the top of the road turn left. The Regent Street car park is on your left. There are a number of shorter stay on-street parking spaces available in the area too.
From the Tamar Bridge or A38 heading from the Cornwall direction:
Exit at the Manadon roundabout and follow the A386 along Outland Road (passing Plymouth Argyle and the Plymouth Life Centre on your left) and then Alma Road to the Pennycomequick roundabout. Take the second exit onto Saltash Road (passing the train station on your left). At the North Cross roundabout take the second exit onto Coburg Street and then Charles Street to the Charles Cross roundabout (the one with the ruined church on it). Take the first exit onto Hampton Street. At the top of the road turn left. The Regent Street car park is on your left. There are a number of shorter stay on-street parking spaces available in the area too.
From the Marsh Mills roundabout or A38 heading from the Devon direction:
Follow the A374 all the way into the city centre travelling along the Embankment, Gdynia Way, Shapters Road and down Exeter Street until you reach the Charles Cross roundabout. Take the third exit on to Hampton Street. At the top of the road turn left. The Regent Street car park is on your left. There are a number of shorter stay on-street parking spaces available in the area too.
From the Torpoint Ferry:
Drive up Pottery Road to the top of the hill. Turn left at the traffic lights. Turn right at the next set of traffic lights. Drive to the top of Albert Road (B3396). Take a left at the mini roundabout onto Devonport Road. Follow the road until it becomes Milehouse Road and stay on the road until you reach the intersection (the Britannia pub will be in front of you and Plymouth CityBus on your right). Filter off to the right on to Alma Road (A386) and stay on it until the Pennycomequick roundabout. Take the second exit onto Saltash Road (passing the train station on your left). At the North Cross roundabout take the second exit onto Coburg Street and then Charles Street to the Charles Cross roundabout (the one with the ruined church on it). Take the first exit onto Hampton Street. At the top of the road turn left. The Regent Street car park is on your left. There are a number of shorter stay on-street parking spaces available in the area too.
From the Brittany Ferry:
Exit the ferry port and take the second exit on the roundabout on to Martin Street. Take the third exit at the next roundabout on to Union Street. Go straight across at the next set of traffic lights. Take the second exit at the Derry’s Cross roundabout and drive to the end of Royal Parade. Take the second exit at the St Andrew’s Cross roundabout onto Exeter Street (Drake Circus will be on your left and the Barcode on your right). At the Charles Cross roundabout (the one with the ruined church on it) take the second exit onto Hampton Street. At the top of the road turn left. The Regent Street car park is on your left. There are a number of shorter stay on-street parking spaces available in the area too.
Plymouth, Britain's Ocean City, is the gateway to the South West. We are connected to the Midlands and the North by mainline rail link, and locally by branch line and buses.
The Box is a 10-minute walk from Plymouth Train Station. Please see nationalrail.co.uk for timetables.
The following buses stop outside The Box:
Plymouth Citybus: 8, 9, 20, 20A, 27, 27A, 27B, 28, 28A, 28B, 35, 35A, 40, 41, 42, 42A, 42B, 42C, 44, 61,62, 103
Stagecoach Devon: 1, 48
Target Travel: 31, 39
Please see travelinesw.com for bus timetables.
You can also park and ride from three locations in the city. Please see plymouth.gov.uk/parkandride for more information.
We encourage cycling and other green modes of transport, and there are public cycle stands onsite.
This information is self-assessed; therefore we accept no liability for its accuracy. Please contact the venue for further information.
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