Hereford Cathedral’s internationally renowned Mappa Mundi and Chained Library exhibition is to get a ‘make-over’ following the award of a £50,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a new exhibition and the re-telling of their stories. The new exhibition of the map (c1290) will be commissioned from internationally renowned designers Hayley Sharpe Designs.
‘We are delighted by the news,’ said Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of the Cathedral, who oversees the exhibition on a daily basis. ‘While the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library have been receiving phenomenal television and newspaper coverage, the current exhibition has begun to look tired.’
‘Scholarship has also advanced, and the exhibition has not been able to reflect the new stories that we know about the map and its origins. This marvellous grant will help us achieve this and to make the interpretation of the map available to so many more people.’
The new exhibition will include new fixed and interactive interpretative panels, dummy chained books and book case, which visitors can use to experience handling the books and manuscripts, and a programme of work to increase the accessibility of the exhibition to all. This will include the introduction of season tickets to the exhibition.
Anne Jenkins, Head of HLF West Midlands , said: ‘This is fantastic news for Hereford Cathedral. The Mappa Mundi is the oldest and perhaps the most famous map in the world and a real heritage gem for Hereford and its community to have on its doorstep. We look forward to seeing the improvements that this grant will bring to the exhibition for people of all backgrounds and ages.’
Hereford & South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman also welcomed the news: ‘The Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library are not just local but national treasures. I am thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to support this important exhibition. We must do more to promote Hereford City as a cultural and artistic destination – this is a great step in the right direction.’
In addition to the new exhibition, the grant will help fund interpretive material in a number of different languages for those local residents - for whom English is not their first language - and international visitors. The project will also develop our programmes of work with local schools and training opportunities for volunteer guides and stewards.
The upgrading of the interpretative exhibition will be undertake and installed over the winter months while other works will be taking place. It will take place in tandem with other works including a new conservation case for the Mappa Mundi and additional exhibition space for the cathedral’s various other treasures, including its copy of the 1217 Magna Carta which is currently on display until 30 October. Funding for these other areas of development is still required and anyone interested in supporting the development should contact Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust on tel: 01432 374261, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.