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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 April, 2003, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Ship exhibition charts changes
SS Great Britain
The ship was built in Bristol in 1843
Visitors to the ss Great Britain in Bristol will be able to see how the historic iron ship is to be restored at a new exhibition.

"Extreme Iron: Science and the future of Brunel's steamship" sets out the future vision for the ship and explains how the next two years will be spent conserving it.

Alongside the plans, nearly 1,000 artefacts will be on show for visitors to see and touch, including a huge 16-tonne rudder and propeller frame.

The exhibition also includes a number of interactive experiments and demonstrations showing the effects of age, air and water on Brunel's great ship.

"The opening of the exhibition is an exciting step forward for us", said Matthew Tanner, director of the ss Great Britain Trust.

"Over the years we've collected and salvaged a massive number of original artefacts, so it's wonderful to now have a purpose-made exhibition space for people to enjoy them."

Hundreds of ss Great Britain artefacts will go on show
Future plans include transformation not only of the ship, but also of the Great Western Dockyard.

The area where the ss Great Britain is housed will be made into a bustling 19th Century dockyard.

Visitors will be able to board the ship like a passenger embarking on a voyage in the 1800s.

On board they will be able to experience the ship exactly as it would have been - with each room perfectly recreated to show what life on board would have been like.

"When fully restored and the dockyard transformed there will be nothing else like this in the world," said Mr Tanner.

"Just as Brunel led the way in the 19th Century, so the restored ss Great Britain will be doing the same in the 21st."

The total cost of the restoration will be 10.5m and work is expected to be complete by April 2005.

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