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Museum from Home

Dockyard days out

... from the comfort of your home

The Dockyard gate may be temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak but that doesn’t stop us from sharing the stories, insights and fascinating behind the scenes footage of our historical site. You can explore the intriguing objects in our collection online and enjoy virtual visits via video and photographs – our Museum from home.

This new page aims to bring a little bit of cheer in the current climate. The team at The Dockyard has come together to bring activities that help pass the time at home. We will share regular inspiration and insight via our social channels and into your inbox.

Click on the tiles below to explore the activities.

In addition to these activities we have a number of virtual tours of HMS Cavalier, created through a partnership with World of Warships. Take the virtual tour.

Monday Mission

... with the Captain's Cat

The Captain’s Cat is feeling lonely – there are no visitors at the Dockyard for him to play with. He has created a series of fun ‘Dockyard Explorer’ activities for you to try at home.

All of the activities have easy to follow instructions and use items that you can find around the house, no special tools or skills are required.

Great fun for the whole family – we promise they won’t make too much mess!

Mission 1: Tattoo Art

Colour your own tattoo using a special Dockyard design.

Mission 5: Shipmates

Make a hat worthy of a heroic Admiral or a wayward pirate.

Mission 6: Busy Bees

Celebrate the Dockyard bees and make your own busy, buzzing bee.

Transformation Tuesday

... remembering the past

Since a dockyard was established in Chatham over 400 years ago, the site has changed dramatically but key buildings and areas remain that allow us a brief glimpse into the past. Each Tuesday share a ‘then’ and ‘now’ photo on our social media channels.

Fitted Rigging House

This week’s Transformation Tuesday takes us back to 1918. The view from Anchor Wharf shows the Fitted Rigging House.

Built 1793-1805, the Fitted Rigging House (Grade I listed, Scheduled Ancient Monument) was where the Dockyard’s riggers prepared and stored the rigging for ships being ‘Fitted For Sea’. They used rope made in the nearby Ropery.

After significant restoration, the Fitted Rigging House is now home to Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust offices, our Steam, Steel and Submarines gallery, Reading Room, Archive and Conservation Lab, as well as a range of commercial tenants.



Midweek Mystery

... from the Collection

Each week we will look into the archive and collection and retrieve some of our more obscure and intriguing objects – your task is solve the mystery and work out what they are. The answer will be revealed as part of our “Object of the Week” each Thursday.

Check our social media channels every Wednesday when we’ll share a new image.

Wellness Wednesday

... looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Our current living and working situations present challenges for us all. Last year Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust became the first heritage site in the country to sign the ‘Time to Change Employer Pledge‘ which demonstrates our commitment to mental health in the workplace. There are also there are number of national, regional and local organisations that are equipped to help us through difficult times.

Visit our dedicated page for Mental Health Awareness, take part in some of the activities and enjoy our weekly Wellness blog posts.

From the collection

... explore our objects online

Our Collections team will dig deep into the archive each week and share some of the fascinating stories and objects that we have the privilege of being the custodian for.

If you’re feeling inspired, we would love to see your own creative response to our objects – be it a drawing, a poem, a dance – you decide. Or if the object has particular resonance with you, please share your story or memory.

Object of the week

Plumb bob

A plumb bob is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line.

This example has been dated to the early 1900s and engraved with ‘A. Harbord’ with a delicate pattern. There is a sharp point to the end of the bob and an acorn designed top unscrews to allow the line to be removed. The line attached is a black coated material with possible cotton line inside.

Object of the week


Deadeyes are flat sided wooden blocks with three or four holes cut and a recess cut around their circumference. Made from either elm or lignum vitae, deadeyes are fitted in pairs and joined together by a rope lanyard.

The term ‘dead’ was used because they had no revolving sheaves. No doubt the original name of dead-man’s-eye arose from the remarkable resemblance of these blocks with their three holes to a human skull.


... kitchen science

Doc.Yard is self-isolating in his secret lab but he’s managed to send us a few fun science experiments for you to re-create from the safety of your kitchen.

Each experiment has easy to follow, step by step instructions and uses materials that you should find around the house.

A new experiment is released every Thursday.

This week's experiment ...

World record worthy bubbles

An experiment to allow you to create giant sized bubbles.

Last week's experiment ...

Making Magnets

This experiment explores the two ways to create a magnet at home.

Something for the weekend

... get creative with Arts Award

Why not get rewarded for your creative efforts? Accredited by Trinity College London, Arts Award Discover is an introductory award, designed for ages 5 and above, but is open to children and young people aged up to 25.

To achieve the Arts Award Discover all you need to do is complete the tasks set over the next 6 weeks and fill out the online Log Book.

Be as inventive and creative as you can! Write your experience or alternatively use photos, videos or collages to capture your experiences.

Secrets & Spies: Dazzle Ship

Dazzle is a type of ship camouflage used in World War I designed to make it difficult for another ship to estimate the ship’s range, speed and heading. Make your own with a juice carton.

Ships & Shipmates: Jolly Roger

The flag that became known as the Jolly Roger – a skull and crossbones design – was used in the 17th and 18th centuries by pirates. Learn how to sew and make your own flag.

Under the Sea: Pom Pom Octopus

You probably won’t find one in the River Medway but the Octopus is the subject of many seafaring myths and legends. Make your own fluffy version using some colourful wool.