Archaeological museum containing a wealth of information about life in the Cotswolds throughout the ages
The Corinium Museum in Cirencester is a fantastic resource for visitors and locals alike in order to discover the story of the Cotswolds through the ages. The museum was given a £5 million injection of cash in the year 2004, enabling a huge transformation, which has made the museum into the unmissable attraction that it is today.
The museum displays artefacts from the Cotswolds from pre-history to the late 19th century. There is a large display of Roman items to highlight Cirencester’s importance as the second biggest Roman town, with London as the largest. Cirencester was called Corinium in Roman times. The Roman collection takes over two floors of the museum and includes well-preserved, beautiful mosaics, as well as tombstones, sculptures and objects from every day Roman life. There are also room and shop reconstructions to depict daily life in Roman times. These include a soldier’s barrack-room, a Roman kitchen and a Roman dining-room.
Other artefacts and displays include a dramatic new Anglo-Saxon gallery that has been created to house the finds from the cemetery uncovered at Butler's Field, Lechlade, in 1985. Visitors can also view the figures of a forensically-reconstructed Anglo-Saxon man and a child who were uncovered with over two-hundred other bodies in the cemetery. There is also a reconstructed grave of an Anglo-Saxon princess, nick-named "Mrs Getty" due to the five hundred or so treasures buried with her. The original treasures found in the grave with her are estimated to be over 1,500 years old.
Other exhibits include a medieval gallery that focuses on the impact that the wool trade had on the town of Cirencester and its Abbey. The Abbey was almost entirely destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries, yet despite this, it was the second largest Augustinian foundation in the country and has left behind a wealth of sculpture and architectural carvings.
The museum is also renowned for its excellent education programme and events for school children. The education sessions focus on active-learning, where pupils can take part in "hands-on" workshops that aim to give a real experience of life in the past. The education programme is complimented by two museum-facilities: the Lifelong Learning Centre, which is fully equipped for seminars, lectures and talks, and the Lecture Theatre that offers seating-space for seventy people. This seating can be retracted mechanically so that the theatre can also be used as a meeting room. There is a full multi-media system for lectures that includes a slide projector and a microphone system, as well as full domestic facilities including a kitchen.
These facilities at the museum can also be used for commercial hire. There is, in addition, the Hare Mosaic Gallery that can accommodate at least a hundred people standing or sixty people seated. Presentations and receptions can take place here and food and drink can be served.