Norton Priory Museum & Gardens is thrilled to announce a new programme of activity thanks to an award of £43,500 from the Art Fund Reimagine grants for 2021.
Once a centre for medieval contemplation and spirituality, the funding will support Norton Priory Museums & Gardens to revisit the site’s Augustinian roots, providing a 21st century place for wellbeing and mindfulness. Using the archaeological site and collection as inspiration and its modern, purpose-built facilities, Norton Priory will provide restful, imaginative and mindful activity to all. This is a new path for the museum, as it seeks to connect its historical past to contemporary visitors.
The ‘Mindful Museum’ project has begun with a Community Archaeological Excavation Week, run in partnership with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Liverpool. This first season of community excavations takes place from 11 – 15 October 2021. Places are limited, but go to www.nortonpriory.org/events to sign up.
To help launch the new community excavation local MP and Shadow Culture Minister, Alison McGovern, and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, visited the site and were delighted to see the progress being made.
Alison said: “Norton Priory is an amazing place steeped in nearly a thousand years of Britain’s history and everyday something with a story from the past to tell is unearthed by small teams of archaeologists. The museum houses discoveries showing how our present is rooted in our past in so many ways, not least recent discoveries giving modern medicine clues in the fight against Paget’s disease of bone.
“Decades ago the local community was involved in the initial excavations with local people taking part in the first digs. The therapeutic value of this sort of activity in terms of health benefits are well known. I’m so pleased that Norton Priory has been recognised by the Art Fund as part of the Reimagine Grant Scheme to make the most of the creative and cultural opportunities in our country. I thank the entire Norton Priory team who have helped families recover from the impact of Covid and will be there to help us all learn about our history for years to come.”
Prior to the community dig, the university held a three-week ‘teaching dig’ at the site when more than 80 students worked on excavations on the medieval moat system and the Canons’ burial ground.
During the excavation, they had a visit from Dr Patrick Greene OBE, who directed the first excavation at Norton Priory, Halton MP Derek Twigg, and the Council’s portfolio holder for Culture, Cllr Paul Nolan.