Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Yorkshire Museum Reopens

The Yorkshire Museum in York – home to some of Britain’s greatest treasures – reopens its doors after a major two million pound refurbishment that has totally transformed its interior.

The city’s Roman heritage is the central theme for the new look museum, with major exhibitions also highlighting its strong medieval and natural history collections.

Objects on show include the most complete Anglo Saxon helmet ever found in Britain, the exquisite Middleham Jewel, the most significant Viking Hoard to be found in 150 years and one of Britain’s biggest Ichthyosaurs. Some of these treasures will have returned from the British Museum where they have been on display, the first time they have ever dedicated a gallery to a regional museum.

In turn objects belonging to the British Museum from the classical will be on display in the Yorkshire Museum for the opening on August 1.

Andrew Morrison, head curator at the Yorkshire Museum, said: “This refurbishment will once again transform the Yorkshire Museum into one of the country’s greatest museums. It is a beautiful building that is home to some of the most significant archaeological finds and scientific collections in Europe.

“This project was vital to restore the galleries to their former glory. In doing so we believe we have created a museum that shows off its proud heritage while at the same time being a place that will inspire and delight the 21st Century visitor.”

The project, which saw the museum close in November 2009, has seen many of the relatively modern interior walls removed to create a much more open and welcoming space. The visitor will first enter the main hall, to be greeted by the Museum’s statue of the Roman God of War, Mars. It is the finest example of Romano British sculpture ever found. The rest of the museum is split into the 3 sections: Roman York, Medieval York and Extinct. As well as the three exhibitions there will also be two other new areas: The History of York and The Learning Level, which includes the Museum’s Impressive Victorian Library.

To carry out the major refurbishment York Museums Trust secured £200,000 from the DCMS/Wolfson Foundation, £315,000 from Renaissance in the Regions, £300,000 from the Monument Trust, £200,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, £75,000 from the Foyle Foundation and other donations from the University of York, Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate, Museums, Libraries and Archives PRISM Fund, the William Reed Trust, the Yorkshire Philosophical Foundation and the York Museums Trust Development Group. The City of York Council also granted the Trust a further £850,000 as match funding.

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