FINAL preparations are under way for the opening of York Minster's new visitor attraction on Saturday.
Set in underground chambers, Revealing York Minster is the latest stage of a £20 million, five-year restoration and conservation project part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, creating the largest visitor attraction within a UK cathedral.
The exhibition tells the story of the last 2,000 years through computer generated images and dozens of priceless artefacts, many still in use in the Minster. Many others have never been seen before before seen on public display, including the ancient illuminated York Gospels.
Other highlights include the Horn of Ulf which is 1,000 years old. It is an elaborately carved elephant tusk which was used as a deed of transfer by the Viking nobleman who gifted the land for York Minster and its precincts.
The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, said: “Revealing York Minster brings together the cathedral's archaeological discoveries and written archives for the first time.
“Once people have got beyond the awe this place inevitably evokes, the next response is to ask how it came to be.
“To ensure every visitor gets as much as possible, we have used the latest designs and interpretative techniques to enable people to immerse themselves.”
The contemporary chambers of the undercroft are built in a space created when emergency excavations were made to underpin the central tower during the 1970s.
During that work archaeologists uncovered the site’s hidden history, including an Anglo Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the Norman Minster.
They also discovered the remains of the main base for the Roman Army in Northern Britain and newly installed glass floors will enable visitors to see some of the remaining Roman walls beneath their feet.
Organisers say Revealing York Minster, with its state-of-the-art multi media galleries, interactive interpretations and 3D images promises to transform the experience of visiting York Minster and tell a more compelling story both around the remains and around the Minster's extensive collections.
Rev Faull said: “The exhibition has been designed to help visitors understand the religious, cultural and historic significance of this magnificent place of worship. A place at the heart of a community, not just within the city of York but across the globe.”