The Yorkshire Museum reopens on August 1st, 2010 following a nine month, £2 million refurbishment project. Five new galleries will showcase some of Britain’s finest archaeological and natural treasures, in brand new interactive displays.
The Yorkshire Museum hopes that the extensive changes will make it must-see destination in a tour around the English city of York. The museum’s collections already include many significant medieval and ancient treausres – including The Vale of York Viking Hoard, the most significant Viking find in more than 150 years, the head of the earliest portrait statue of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, and the famous ‘Cawood Sword’, only the fifth Viking sword of its type ever to be found and by far the best preserved, with a mysterious inscription that has never been solved.
The city’s Roman heritage will be the central theme for the new look museum, with major exhibitions also highlighting its strong medieval and natural history collections. The project, called Letting in the Light, will see much of the relatively modern interior walls removed to create a much more open and welcoming space. The gateway to the new-look museum will be the large, light and airy Central Hall which will recreate some of the original look of the Yorkshire Museum.
Andrew Morrison, head curator at the Yorkshire Museum told the BBC, “People had told us that the museum was dark and dingy and they were right. When the building was designed it was meant to be a light space. When you let in natural daylight, as we’ve done in this project, it just makes everything, all our wonderful objects, look so much better.”
Fans of the Middle Ages will now be able to see the new gallery: Medieval York – The Power and the Glory, which will display objects from Anglian York to the time of Henry VIII. Some of the attractions for visitors will include stained glass panels from Wakefield Cathedral, reconstructed pieces of the 1330 shrine to St William of York, and four pieces of rare medieval stained glass from St Denis’ Cathedral in Paris which have never been displayed in the museum before.
The museum was opened in 1830 by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society and was one of the first purpose-built museums in the country. It is now managed by the York Museums Trust. For more information, please visit the Yorkshire Museum website.