Final preparations are under way for the opening of the largest visitor attraction within a UK cathedral.
Revealing York Minster tells the story of the last 2,000 years of the historic site of the great church.
Excavations in the 1970s uncovered a hidden history of the site, including the remains of a Roman barracks, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the Norman Minster – the forerunner of the present cathedral.
The new attraction takes visitors on a journey through two millennia of York’s history, featuring artefacts never before on public display. The designers say visitors will be able to see, touch and hear 2,000 years of history.
“York Minster has stood at the heart of the city for centuries, but even before that, this site was instrumental in the growth of York, from a military barracks into a major conurbation,” said the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull.
“This means that the land upon which the cathedral now stands has been a centre – military, political, social and theological – for that whole time, influencing not only regional but national history.
“For the first time, Revealing York Minster brings together the archaeological discoveries and the written archives – dating back to the 7th century. But this is not just a story about the past: it will provide visitors with an insight into the evolution of the city, and York Minster’s central role within that, right up to the present day with a glimpse at the people who work behind the scenes, making use of the very latest technology.”
Mark Hosea, project director of York Minster Revealed, said: “As visitors wander through the attraction, they will notice that this is not simply about history made in the past – York Minster continues to make history today, and indeed, this attraction will form a new significant part of the timeline for the Minster. This is a place visited by kings and queens for centuries, and the work being done within the cathedral today – whether looking after worshippers or conserving priceless stained glass – ensures that time never stands still here.
“The process of bringing together all this information about York Minster has itself created a new legacy for future generations recorded in minute detail, whilst the conservation work taking place all around the building, on the Great East Window and on the masonry, will ensure that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren can continue to enjoy this magnificent building.”
The attraction opens to the public on Saturday, 26th May.