A new exhibition exploring Chester’s medieval past has opened at the Grosvenor Museum. Medieval Chester Retold offers a new viewpoint on the ways in which everyday objects from the Museum’s collections created a complex and diverse city.
The exhibition features virtual virtual reconstructions of landmark city buildings in the 14th Century alongside the medieval artefacts and us part of a wider programme of work, the ‘Mobility of Objects Across Boundaries (MOB) 1000-1700’ organised by the University of Chester and partners.
Artefacts on display include shoes, tiles, coins and pottery. The exhibition explores the history of Chester Castle, trade guilds and features a reconstruction of the shrine to St Werburgh. The remains of the Saint were moved to Chester in the year 875 due to increased Viking attacks. One of the earliest surviving maps of Chester is another interesting object on display. The exhibition aims to bring to wider attention these everyday historical artefactsand reveal the ways in which objects allowed people in the past to move across thresholds and boundaries, from public to private spaces, from secular to religious spaces and across global trade networks. The digital reconstructions will recreate the movement and settings of the objects for the public.
While exploring, children can try on replica clothes, dressing up as a medieval peasant, merchant, trader or pilgrim and imagining what objects they would have worn or used in the era.
The exhibition also showcases examples of creative work produced by regional schools including pupils from Oldfield Primary and Bishops’ blue Coat High School , based upon Object boxes loaned to the school containing medieval and early modern artefacts.
Speaking at the launch last week, Grosvenor Museum Curator Liz Montgomery commented “This project has been really fantastic to work on , its partnered the Grosvenor museum medieval collections with the expertise of Katherine and her research at the University of Chester History and Archaeology department, and its been a real pleasure to bring those two things together. The result is this fabulous exhibition. “
Dr Katherine Wilson, Associate Professor of Later Medieval European History at the University of Chester said that “A lot of people talk about Roman Chester and that’s what a lot of people come to Chester for , but we’d like people to come here for Medieval Chester and realise the significance continues from the Roman period. This exhibition is about telling stories through objects about ordinary people that lived in Chester. The videos are reconstructions of St Johns, a really important part of Medieval Chester, sometimes people miss it out, its hard to imagine how big St Johns was, so its really cool to see how it looked. The reconstruction of the Water Tower shows it as an international port…telling that story to the people of Chester and beyond is really important.”
Medieval Chester Retold runs until the 9th July