We, alongside English Heritage and The Salisbury Museum, are celebrating the 25th anniversary of The National Lottery and saying thank you to all Lottery players.
Support from National Lottery Heritage Fund has enabled the Museum to produce award-winning prehistoric galleries, displaying the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold in England.
See the English Heritage news release below:
Stonehenge, Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum are saying a joint thank you on the 25th Anniversary of The National Lottery, by giving away 25 surprise gifts at each site
The National Lottery is celebrating its 25th birthday, and English Heritage, and Salisbury and Wiltshire Museums are giving away 25 gifts at Stonehenge and at each museum to say thank you to Lottery players for the extraordinary impact that they have had at each place.
Funding from The National Lottery helped to revolutionise people’s experience of the iconic Stonehenge site with a £10m grant in 2013, and further grants enabled galleries at Wiltshire and Salisbury Museums, housing important Stonehenge artefacts to also be transformed. Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund a visit to Stonehenge today combined with a trip to see the museums’ extraordinary collections, provides a more complete story of one of the world’s most famous and mysterious monuments, and brings the past to life in Wiltshire like never before.
At Stonehenge, the grant helped the setting of the ancient monument to be vastly improved by the removal of outdated visitor facilities and the grassing over of the road that ran next to the monument, thereby returning it to how it may have looked 4500 years ago. A new visitor and exhibition centre was built at the edge of the World Heritage site where more than 1.5 million people from around the world now receive a warm welcome and can see extraordinary objects, on loan from Salisbury and Wiltshire Museums, as well as enjoy a rolling programme of special exhibitions. A 360-degree virtual display transports visitors back in time through the millennia and enables them to experience the summer and winter solstices as if from within the stones. Outside, five Neolithic houses give a sense of what everyday life was like for the people of Stonehenge.
The benefits can be seen in the expert conservation, interpretation and presentation of Stonehenge, allowing people to engage with the site as never before, and hundreds of thousands of school children have taken advantage of state of the art education facilities, enjoying fun and interactive visits to Stonehenge.
English Heritage Director for Stonehenge Kate Logan said, “The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant helped us to do so much, and now visitors, whether international travellers or local school children, can enjoy a truly engaging experience here. We have been able to develop local partnerships, none more important to us than the museums who we continue to work closely with today, and allowed us to tell a joined up story. If someone wants to experience Stonehenge – the monument is just the first stop in a fantastic multi-site offer across Wiltshire.”
In 2012 Salisbury Museum was awarded £1.8 million by The National Lottery which enabled the museum to create a new archaeology gallery and introduce an exciting programme of learning and engagement. In June 2019 the museum was awarded further initial support from Heritage Fund for its Salisbury Museum for Future Generations project – a £4.4 million redevelopment that will transform the remainder of the museum.
Adrian Green, Director of Salisbury Museum said: ‘The initial grant was amazing news which began our transformation of the museum. It enabled us to create the outstanding Wessex Gallery which houses our nationally important finds from Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape.’
Wiltshire Museum was able to open four new prehistoric galleries thanks to £370,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The new galleries allowed the “crown jewels’ of Stonehenge to be housed in state of the art exhibition cases for the first time, and the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold in England to be put on public display.
David Dawson, Director of Wiltshire Museum said: “Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments – the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of visiting these two iconic sites and provides a unique opportunity to see some of the objects that may have been worn by worshippers at Stonehenge many years ago.”
Visitors to Stonehenge, Wiltshire or Salisbury Museum on the 23rd November will be in with the chance of picking up one of 25 special thank you gifts given out at random at each site, and on 26 and 27 November, National Lottery Ticket holders may join a free tour of the exhibition with Dr Heather Sebire – the Stonehenge Curator and a leading expert on the monument.
There are a number of other initiatives on offer at the Stonehenge visitor centre and other English Heritage sites to celebrate 25 years of the national lottery including a free hot drink for all visitors with a lottery ticket, and a range of behind-the-scenes tours and talks.