New exhibition in York: Capital of the North

24 Jan 2013 @ 11.45 am
| News

Issued by York Museums Trust

Some of the most prestigious and significant medieval objects ever found in Britain will tell York’s story as Capital of the North this February.

Opening February 16, the new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum will tell the extraordinary story of how great swathes of the country were ruled from within York’s walls during the medieval period; exploring famous people and events connected with the medieval city.

Some of the Yorkshire Museum’s most prized objects, such as the Cawood Sword, the Escrick Ring and the Middleham Jewel will be included in the exhibition, as well artefacts which are rarely on public display.

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology, said: “From the fifth century, for a thousand years, York was the northern city, the place from which the powerful ruled. Kings ruled the country from here; Archbishops led the Church from here; traders and merchants made their fortunes here.

“This exhibition will look at how York became so powerful and the men and women who made it so.”

The exhibition will start with a film which will be triggered by a coloured bookmark picked up by the visitor and placed on a sensor. There are two different colours, with one playing a film geared towards a children’s audience while the other is for an adult audience. Both will serve as an introduction to medieval York and the exhibition.

The exhibition will cover approximately one thousand years of history; from the departure of Roman rule in the fifth century to the mid-sixteenth century.

It will be set out in chronological order and divided into eight distinct periods – Anglian, Viking, Norman, Angevin*, House of York, People of York, Tudor and Rediscovered.

Key objects from York’s collection such as the Gilling Sword, Ormside Bowl Middleham Ring and Stillingfleet Boar Badge will be used to highlight York’s economic, political, strategic and religious power during each period.

The exhibition will be designed with families in mind and there will be colourful cartoons of some iconic medieval characters with connections to York, including Richard III, Henry IV and William the Conqueror.

There will also be an interactive, designed by the winners of a competition for 16 to 24 year olds launched last year. Visitors will be able to try their hand at our Fantasy Jousting computer game – the more they know about the medieval world the better at it they will be.

*Angevin is the name that was used to describe the Plantagenists by themselves and their contemporaries. The Angevin Empire extended from the Pyrenees in Spain to Ireland, including all of England and half of France, during the 12th and 13th Centuries.

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