YORK Minster is throwing open its doors for people to see its rich archives which boast links to the city's 2000 history.

More than 300,000 historic objects and treasures will be revealed to the public through Collections Unlocked – a series of interactive sessions running until April 2015 as part of the Minster’s Adult Learning Programme.

From invasion and conquest to the birth of Christianity, the artefacts in the Minster archive come from important and momentous events throughout history and the collection includes books, silver, textiles and glass.

Chancellor of York Minster, the Reverend Canon Dr Chris Collingwood said: “This is a new, ground-breaking event for York Minster. Opportunities for people to examine and handle precious historical objects are very rare.

“We will reveal items that are exquisite, extraordinary and quirky. Many of our objects will reveal stories of conflict, discrimination, religious tolerance and intolerance – issues which continue to challenge humanity on a global scale.

“We hope that experiencing these items in such an intimate way will open discussions about their original purpose, the historical context for their creation, how the items survived through the years and what they can teach us and tell us about our lives right now.”

The pieces range from exquisitely-crafted, internationally important masterpieces through to small, domestic objects much used and much loved in their time, and many still in use at the Minster today.

The Old Palace Collection also includes some unexpected items not normally be associated with a cathedral collection - like a Chinese dragon robe decorated with representations of Chinese emperors which is used each January in the Minster's Epiphany Procession, and a rare edition of the world's first printed atlas.

The first Collections Unlocked sessions is called "Around the World in 80 Minutes" and will focus on travel from the Roman period to the present day, looking at unusual objects from around the world.

The event takes place on Tuesday, September 30 from 2-2.30pm in the Upper Hall of the Old Palace, Dean’s Park. Tickets cost £5 and can be booked in advance from boxoffice@yorkminster.org