York's ‘royal’ museums to get massive makeovers

Chris Tuckley, head of interpretation for the Jorvik Group, with a replica of a medieval helmet that will form part of the refurbished Richard III Museum in Monk Bar

Chris Tuckley, head of interpretation for the Jorvik Group, with a replica of a medieval helmet that will form part of the refurbished Richard III Museum in Monk Bar

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

MUSEUMS at two of York’s historic Bars are to undergo major refurbishments and will be dedicated to two controversial kings.

Monk Bar will play host to The Richard III Experience, while Micklegate Bar will become home to The Henry VII Experience. Both will be run by the Jorvik Group which already runs the Viking Centre and DIG.

The developments, which will capitalise on increased international interest in Richard following the discovery of his remains under a Leicester car park, are expected to boost York’s tourism in the run-up to Easter.

Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said the revamped museums would add a new dimension to York’s “superb tourism offer,” adding: ”York’s royal heritage is popular with visitors and these exciting plans will offer a freshand timely insight into medieval York.”

Dean Whitehouse, a member of the Micklegate Quarter, said the revamped museum should help draw more tourists to the area, providing further business to local traders who had already turned the corner after difficult times.

The plans have been unveiled by the Jorvik Group, part of the York Archaeological Trust, which already runs the Micklegate Bar Museum and has now also taken over the Richard III Museum at Monk Bar.

Sarah Maltby, the group’s director of attractions, said Michael Bennett, who founded the Richard III Museum two decades ago, was retiring and had approached the group about it taking over the reins.

She said: “Richard III has been very much in the news in recent years, and there’s a great opportunity to tell the story of Richard and his connections with the city of York, from his ascension to the bloody battles of Towton and then Bosworth.”

“It then seemed logical to link Monk Bar with Micklegate Bar, so that with a short walk along the city walls, visitors can continue the story, looking at the subsequent reign of Henry VII, to create a visitor experience that really cements York’s role in the time of the Plantagenets and Tudors.

“These two new attractions, combined with Barley Hall, will illustrate the story of medieval York fantastically well, giving visitors an idea of what it would have been like to live in the city through the War of the Roses, living first under the white rose of Richard, then the red rose of Henry Tudor.

“With the popularity of the BBC series The White Queen last summer, and the on-going interest in Richard III, we’re looking forward to welcoming our first visitors to step inside this fascinating period in history.”

Mr Bennett said he had always tried to present the case for and against Richard III in an accessible and entertaining way and had enjoyed meeting and welcoming visitors over the last 20 years.

“I am delighted the Jorvik Group of Attractions will be taking over the museum and that it will continue to inform and entertain residents and tourists about the Richard III story.”

Mrs McMullen paid tribute to the “excellent work and passion” that Mr Bennett had put into the Richard III Museum over the years.

The Richard III Museum has already shut and the Micklegate museum will close briefly at the end of March while new exhibitions are installed, with both re-opening for the Easter holidays.

Comments (16)

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12:56pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Blimp says...

Brilliant, love it! More please.
Brilliant, love it! More please. Blimp
  • Score: 10

1:18pm Mon 24 Feb 14

whitehorse says...

What a fantastically interesting idea. What a shame the other bars couldn't become part of it (and the various towers etc) Then you could throw in the Romans, Vikings, Tudors and English Civil War. Get fit. Study history. Winning combination.
What a fantastically interesting idea. What a shame the other bars couldn't become part of it (and the various towers etc) Then you could throw in the Romans, Vikings, Tudors and English Civil War. Get fit. Study history. Winning combination. whitehorse
  • Score: 41

6:34pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Lamplighter says...

Hope they'll be keeping Rik Mayall as the voice of Richard III. I particularly enjoyed that.
Hope they'll be keeping Rik Mayall as the voice of Richard III. I particularly enjoyed that. Lamplighter
  • Score: 6

11:54pm Mon 24 Feb 14

Blancsanglier says...

Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections does Henry Tudor have?
Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections [of note] does Henry Tudor have? Blancsanglier
  • Score: -2

9:39am Tue 25 Feb 14

metsaagain says...

Blancsanglier wrote:
Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections does Henry Tudor have?
err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York!
[quote][p][bold]Blancsanglier[/bold] wrote: Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections [of note] does Henry Tudor have?[/p][/quote]err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York! metsaagain
  • Score: 13

12:38pm Tue 25 Feb 14

whitehorse says...

Actually, having posted a nice positive comment on this story yesterday, I've just realised that converting Micklegate Bar to a Henry VII themed museum will exclude the English Civil War. Where are we going to put that then? That's a pretty damned important part of this cities history, even if it doesn't have the media perspective at the moment.
Actually, having posted a nice positive comment on this story yesterday, I've just realised that converting Micklegate Bar to a Henry VII themed museum will exclude the English Civil War. Where are we going to put that then? That's a pretty damned important part of this cities history, even if it doesn't have the media perspective at the moment. whitehorse
  • Score: 5

1:03pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Alf Garnett says...

The Jorvik Group. Surely one of the best cultural developers in the UK. Well done.
The Jorvik Group. Surely one of the best cultural developers in the UK. Well done. Alf Garnett
  • Score: 4

1:26pm Tue 25 Feb 14

sortyorkout says...

Alf Garnett wrote:
The Jorvik Group. Surely one of the best cultural developers in the UK. Well done.
Sorry I pressed the thumb down button by mistake. Totally agree with you when you think they are a charity that gets no public funding.
[quote][p][bold]Alf Garnett[/bold] wrote: The Jorvik Group. Surely one of the best cultural developers in the UK. Well done.[/p][/quote]Sorry I pressed the thumb down button by mistake. Totally agree with you when you think they are a charity that gets no public funding. sortyorkout
  • Score: 6

2:20pm Tue 25 Feb 14

JHardacre says...

Lived in York for 30 years and never knew of these museums!!
Lived in York for 30 years and never knew of these museums!! JHardacre
  • Score: 1

4:01pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Black Douglas says...

metsaagain wrote:
Blancsanglier wrote:
Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections does Henry Tudor have?
err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York!
Actually Henry VII married the daughter of Edward IV not Richard III. There is no known daughter of Richard III.
[quote][p][bold]metsaagain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Blancsanglier[/bold] wrote: Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections [of note] does Henry Tudor have?[/p][/quote]err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York![/p][/quote]Actually Henry VII married the daughter of Edward IV not Richard III. There is no known daughter of Richard III. Black Douglas
  • Score: 4

4:04pm Tue 25 Feb 14

metsaagain says...

Black Douglas wrote:
metsaagain wrote:
Blancsanglier wrote:
Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections does Henry Tudor have?
err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York!
Actually Henry VII married the daughter of Edward IV not Richard III. There is no known daughter of Richard III.
yes- apologies - he married Elizabeth of York (another York connection?)
[quote][p][bold]Black Douglas[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]metsaagain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Blancsanglier[/bold] wrote: Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections [of note] does Henry Tudor have?[/p][/quote]err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York![/p][/quote]Actually Henry VII married the daughter of Edward IV not Richard III. There is no known daughter of Richard III.[/p][/quote]yes- apologies - he married Elizabeth of York (another York connection?) metsaagain
  • Score: 3

8:50pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Seadog says...

Whitehorse: York Civil War connections ...

King's Manor: Charles I stayed here on a number of occasions, including his brief sojourn in York during the opening phase of the war.

St William's College: this was where Charles set up his printing press, which churned out a great deal of propaganda ... examples of which may be still seen in the Munster Library in the "Old Palace" in Dean's Park.

Marygate Tower: blown up during the siege: the damage is still obvious!

However, I suspect the new, national, Civil War Museum in Newark may have stolen a march on us here! (Not sure if it's open yet?)
Whitehorse: York Civil War connections ... King's Manor: Charles I stayed here on a number of occasions, including his brief sojourn in York during the opening phase of the war. St William's College: this was where Charles set up his printing press, which churned out a great deal of propaganda ... examples of which may be still seen in the Munster Library in the "Old Palace" in Dean's Park. Marygate Tower: blown up during the siege: the damage is still obvious! However, I suspect the new, national, Civil War Museum in Newark may have stolen a march on us here! (Not sure if it's open yet?) Seadog
  • Score: 2

8:52pm Tue 25 Feb 14

Seadog says...

Sorry - that should have read "Minster Library" . Obviously.
Sorry - that should have read "Minster Library" . Obviously. Seadog
  • Score: 1

9:18am Wed 26 Feb 14

whitehorse says...

Thanks Seadog. I've studied York's Civil War history, so I know the points you're referring to. I think the Newark centre will go some way to restoring the period in the national mind. As for these museums- they're great and I really do welcome them, however, it's a shame to see other periods sidelined because of the success of a BBC series. Unfortunately though, historiography is as telling as history sometimes. Once the BBC stop churning out Philippa Gregory, people will forget about poor old Richard and Henry. We're likely to be consumed by the WWI for the next 5 years. Anyway, who can blame them for appealing to the popular imagination. Good for York, good for tourists. Now, if we can just find a nice empty little tower to put the Civil War in, that would approach perfection!
Thanks Seadog. I've studied York's Civil War history, so I know the points you're referring to. I think the Newark centre will go some way to restoring the period in the national mind. As for these museums- they're great and I really do welcome them, however, it's a shame to see other periods sidelined because of the success of a BBC series. Unfortunately though, historiography is as telling as history sometimes. Once the BBC stop churning out Philippa Gregory, people will forget about poor old Richard and Henry. We're likely to be consumed by the WWI for the next 5 years. Anyway, who can blame them for appealing to the popular imagination. Good for York, good for tourists. Now, if we can just find a nice empty little tower to put the Civil War in, that would approach perfection! whitehorse
  • Score: 2

3:30pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Firedrake says...

I think Fishergate Postern is up for grabs at the moment. Or was, until quite recently.
I think Fishergate Postern is up for grabs at the moment. Or was, until quite recently. Firedrake
  • Score: 1

7:02pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Blancsanglier says...

metsaagain wrote:
Blancsanglier wrote:
Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections does Henry Tudor have?
err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York!
''err...he married Richard III's daughter,''

I don't think so. . . . Richard did not have a legitimate daughter!

A Henry Tudor museum is wonderful, but perhaps where he has more of a connection I would have thought?
[quote][p][bold]metsaagain[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Blancsanglier[/bold] wrote: Very disappointed to hear this. The whole point of Richard is his connections with York - what connections [of note] does Henry Tudor have?[/p][/quote]err...he married Richard III's daughter, he made major visits to the city twice- including major elaborate welcome ceremonies at Micklegate Bar (location of the new museum)- he had rebels connected to the Lambert Simnel plot executed here- he saw the mystery plays here. It's also clear from the article that it is also a useful way of exploring more generaly life and society in Tudor York. Although I'm guessing my your nom de plume that you are more of a Ricardian than a Henrician; nonetheless it seems odd that 500 odd years after the even, you are actively disappointed that there should be a musem connectd to Henry VII in York![/p][/quote]''err...he married Richard III's daughter,'' I don't think so. . . . Richard did not have a legitimate daughter! A Henry Tudor museum is wonderful, but perhaps where he has more of a connection I would have thought? Blancsanglier
  • Score: 1

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