Reading Museum opened its new abbey gallery to the public on Monday 12 February. The museum’s abbey gallery is the most recently completed part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project, which is jointly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Reading Borough Council (RBC). Restoration of the abbey gateway will complete in April 2018 and the abbey ruins will re-open to the public on 16 June 2018.
“The exhibition tells us about the abbey, what it would have looked like, the people who would have been around, and how important the abbey was, not just to Reading but to the UK and Europe,” said Sarah Hacker, RBC lead councillor for culture, at the gallery opening.
The abbey gallery includes artefacts that show how the area was settled before the town or the abbey existed, including bronze age torcs from Moulsford and the Syngenta iron age coin hoard. It also includes items that have never been displayed before, such as a rare stone lamp base discovered near Reading minster in 1997 that may have come from Reading’s Saxon nunnery.
“It’s exciting to see the first part of the Reading Abbey Revealed project completed today, for many visitors to the museum to enjoy over half term,” said Reading’s mayor, Councillor Rose Williams. “The museum has used this opportunity to greatly expand the abbey displays, to tell more abbey stories and to show even more of the collections that it looks after on behalf of the people of Reading.”
Reading Museum is usually open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm; admission is free and you can find more details on their website.
The mayor, Councillor Rose Williams, also announced that Reading abbey ruins will be re-opened to the public on Saturday 16 June 2018, after a three-year £3.15 million conservation project. The ruins were closed in 2009 because of safety concerns.
“The abbey ruin’s reopening will coincide with Reading’s popular Water Fest, and will be the must-attend event of the year,” said Councillor Hacker. “I’m sure, like me, many local people cannot wait to explore and enjoy the ruins again.”
- Reading Museum celebrates launch of new abbey gallery
- Reading Abbey ruins official opening date revealed
- What’s on at Reading Museum
- Reading Abbey Quarter website and Twitter