Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Richard III Experience, York

Several months ago, I wrote a post on York's Richard III Museum in Monk Bar, one of the medieval gates of the city. By the time I published the post, the museum had been closed and turned over to the Jorvik Group, an organization that operates several historical museums in York. They have reopened the Monk Bar exhibit and renamed it the Richard III Experience.

View of Monk Bar from outside the city walls

View from inside the city walls

The previous museum had a lot of historical information but also a ton of more tongue-in-cheek displays (see the link above to see the previous museum). The new museum is stripped of a lot of the color and is more focused on the history of the last Plantagenet king in England.

Displays include representations of the battles of Wakefield (fought in 1460 and where Richard's father and also his brother were killed by Lancastrian forces) and Towton (fought in 1461 and where the Lancastrians were defeated and Richard's brother Edward became king of England). Those battles are key parts of the War of the Roses for Richard.

Battle of Wakefield

Battle of Towton

More miniatures of various soldiers

A small mock encampment shows Richard's colors. Inside the tent is a video with historical information presented for children from the creators of Horrible Histories (so the cheek isn't fully gone from the museum).

Tent and bulls-eye of the king

Other child-friendly bits include a role-and-move board game of the War of the Roses.

Less bloody than the actual history

Replicas of Richard's chain and jewel from the famous National Gallery portrait are on display, as is a crown intended to decorate the ultimate burial site of the recently discovered skeleton of Richard.

Crown and jewels

A suit of armor and several helmets in period style are on display as well.


Various helmets

Some parts of the bar are much easier to see now. The mechanism to raise and lower the portcullis is easily visible and the fireplace isn't crowded with equipment.

Portcullis mechanism

Casual fireplace

The museum is worth a visit, especially as a comparison to its companion at Mickelgate Bar, the Henry VII Experience (Henry being the Tudor king who took over after Richard died at the Battle of Bosworth). That museum will be the next post!

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