County history unveiled
New Discover Bucks Galleries are opening on 2 April 2022.
The five brand new galleries at Discover Bucks Museum in Church Street, Aylesbury, tell the story of county people and landscapes from 200 million years ago to today featuring star objects from its collections.
The journey starts 200 million years ago in the Discover Bucks Geology gallery, where fossils reveal prehistoric creatures that swam in the Jurassic seas, including sea monsters, and woolly mammoths that lived here during the Ice Age.
The Discover Bucks Archaeology gallery depicts the earliest people to arrive in Bucks; shows a spectacular 3,000-year-old sword; the first named woman in Bucks from Roman times; one of the largest hoards of Anglo-Saxon coins ever found with coins of Aethelred the Unready and Cnut the Great; and the bones of a Saxon ‘princess’ who was really a noblewoman from Aston Clinton.
The Discover Bucks People gallery illustrates more recent history and up to the present day. It features a spectacular costume case displaying a Sikh bridal suit; an extraordinary piano with a harp on top called a Euphonicon from Claydon House; and a carefully conserved section of Chinese wallpaper from Hampden House. Fascinating objects tell stories about people from different communities and video screens display 120 photos of Bucks people past and present celebrating their contribution.
Discover Bucks Art gallery tells a unique visual story of the county through artists past and present, including portraits of a Victorian jury, Aylesbury MP John Wilkes, the magnificent Stowe statues of Saxon gods, and contemporary works.
The Discover Bucks Wildlife gallery will be completed during the summer and open later this year but already features an intriguing Black Poplar tree replica cast from a tree in Vale Park, Aylesbury, in which can be found birds and insects.
Launch day on 2 April, from 11am, will be a lively and special event. The curatorial team of experts will demonstrate the collections with handling objects and help people explore the new displays.There will be a Bronze Age re-enactor working on a Bronze Age sword to guide visitors through prehistory exhibits.
People can also take part in art activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Paralympic Games and see a headdress from the 2012 Opening Ceremony on display, as well as the intricate motifs on restored Chinese wallpaper from Hampden House.
Museum director Sue Shave said: ‘We are immensely proud of these new galleries, which are an incredible achievement during a worldwide pandemic, and made possible by our dedicated staff, volunteers, friends and patrons and our local communities.
‘These stunning new displays will transform the museum experience for everyone and provide a platform for new programmes for families, adults and schools around themes provided by the inspiration from the star objects on display. This is the day that we have all been waiting for – to see a museum that is more reflective of our communities and their stories and showcases the beautiful and unique landscapes and heritage of the county.’
For Discover Bucks Museum opening times and ticket prices, visit discoverbucksmuseum.org
A youngster enjoying the People Gallery display in the Discover Bucks Galleries.