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The Opening of Creswell Crags Museum
2009 Jun 25

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The new museum and visitors centre at Creswell Crags - Britain's most important Ice Age archaeological site - will be officially opened to the public on Saturday 27th June by Sir David Attenborough.

Creswell Crags Museum

This opening marks the final milestone in the £7million development of Creswell Crags. The new visitor interpretation centre and museum will mean that for the first time artefacts discovered in the Creswell Crag cave network will be able to be exhibited at the site.

Creswell Crags is understood to be the most northerly site in Europe to be visited by humans in the last Ice Age. Creswell Crags hit the headlines in April 2003 with the discovery of Britain's earliest cave art, including 12,000 year-old engravings of birds, deer, bison and horse. This represented one of the most important prehistoric finds in the last decade.

Other finds that form part of this celebrated collection of Ice Age remains include bones of woolly mammoth, reindeer, hyena and bison, and the stone tools of Ice Age hunters more than 10, 000 years old. Creswell's most iconic object, the engraved outline of a horse, which is on long term loan from the British Museum will also be on show.

The new building incorporates state of the art displays, a research and library room. Exhibitions will tell the story of human settlement at Creswell Crags over the last 60,000 years. The development of the site has been made possible as a result of a £4.2million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and support from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils, Lafarge Aggregates, Severn Trent Water, English Heritage and Natural England.

Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:
"The development of Creswell Crags has transformed this internationally important heritage site. It is amazing to think that this has been a site for human settlement for over 60,000 years, and being able to tell this story through artefacts that were actually discovered here is incredibly exciting. The new museum and visitors centre will give visitors, both young and old, the opportunity to explore and learn about an area of pre-history of which there is little general awareness or understanding."

A vital element in the scheme is the new bridge link from the museum which has been made possible through additional support from Lafarge Aggregates and Viridor Waste Management through their Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. The community bridge echoes the architecture of the building and has been developed as part of a wider community project with local schools.

Cllr Ken Stevenson, the Vice Chairman of Creswell Heritage Trust said "The investment and support of all of the funding agencies and partners, especially the Heritage Lottery Fund, has resulted in an innovative building design that will bring a wide range of benefits to this part of the East Midlands".

"This support for the project not only helps to preserve one of the most important archaeological and environmental sites in the East Midlands by providing a sustainable operation at the Crags but significantly improves public access and enjoyment of this area's outstanding heritage and therefore brings significant benefits to local communities. It is projects such as Creswell Crags, that are helping to change the image of this area with the aim of creating a high quality cultural and natural environment that will attract tourists and we hope give business people confidence to invest in a sustainable future."

http://www.creswell-crags.org.uk

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