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Stone Age to Corinium galleries open in Cirencester

In a small, and socially-distanced event, the new 'Stone Age to Corinium' galleries were officially opened at Corinium Museum in Cirencester on Saturday (December 5).

The 'live' event took place with the Mayor, Patrick Coleman, officiating and Nigel Robbins, Chair of Cotswold District Council, declaring the new galleries open.

The Earl Bathurst and John and Catherine Birch were in attendance in their capacity as Friends of Corinium Museum, alongside museum director Amanda Hart and her staff. The Town Crier announced the good news.

The award-winning museum, renowned for its Roman Cirencester collections and exhibits, is travelling further back in time with the intentionally darker and dramatic 'Stone Age to Corinium' galleries that showcase the fantastic artefacts of this period.

The new displays incorporate some old favourites together with some remarkable and previously unseen objects. Each object has a unique story to tell about a person, a place or a technology, with some recognised as the oldest finds of their kind in the whole of the British Isles.

Nigel Robbins, Chair of Cotswold District Council, commented: "What a transformation. You can see that Amanda and her whole team have put their heart and soul into these new spaces and galleries. What a welcome visitors to Cirencester will now have. 

"The Museum welcome desk, doubling up as the town's Visitor Information Centre, is inspired...on behalf of Cotswold District Council, I thank all those involved, and take great pride and pleasure in declaring the new galleries open."

Museum director Amanda Hart said: "This truly marks the fruition of six years of sheer hard work, and over £1.87 million investment from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as well as further donations and sponsorships."

Stuart McLeod, director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "We are very pleased to help support Corinium Museum in opening their new galleries. This is an exciting project to bring to life the history of the local area, dating back to the Stone Age. Thanks to National Lottery players, visitors will be able to discover the archaeology of the Cotswolds and engage up close with these awe-inspiring objects."

Amanda added: "When I started this project, my youngest was still in nursery school, and he has just started secondary school! It has been a long journey, and there were times when I thought the project would not get finished. It really has had everything thrown at it - even a pandemic! There are far too many people to thank, but I wholeheartedly thank you all. The result has exceeded all my expectations."

An online premiere film launch, with actor Ben Miller introducing, took place on Friday, December 4, and the film link is available at https://bit.ly/CoriniumMuseum 

Over 600 fascinating objects and artefacts charting early Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age through to early Roman times, are now exhibited in modern, airy and interactive galleries.

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