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PANORAMA: 1996

Royal Armouries Museum Opens
by Albert Evans
Photo by Anna Purkiss

The 30 million Royal Armouries Museum was officially opened recently in Leeds, northern England, by Queen Elizabeth II. It stands like a castle on Clarence Dock, its glass turret housing the Hall of Steel.

All the artefacts on show are from the Tower of London where the national collection of arms and armour is currently held. Pictured in one of the galleries, is a life-size armoured elephant and mahout (driver).

The new museum is staging live demonstrations ofcombat using real and replica weapons of the period - from the arrow storm at Agincourt to the hi-tech weapons of the Gulf War.

Five spacious galleries tell the story of theimpact of arms and armour on the development of mankind: the majesty of tournament; the relevance of self-defence; the horror of war; the controversy and bravery of hunting, and the mysteries of the great civilisations of the Orient.

These are complemented by a TV newsroom reporting from areas of conflict from around the world, highlighting the relevance of the museum and its collections in the present day.

Interactive attractions feature the latest touchscreen computers, action-packed live demonstrations, object handling displays, trained actor-interpreters and costumed re-enactments, complemented by more than 40 specially made films and computer interactive programmes.

There is a 13-acre (5.25-hectare) waterfront that includes a Tilt-Yard, where visitors can experience a wide range of events that include jousting, archery, falconry and military tattoos. The adjacent Menagerie will provide visitors with the opportunity to see falcons, hawks, dogs and horses that will be worked in the Tilt-Yard. There is also a Craft Court for showing the ancient skills ofthe gunsmith, leather worker and armourer.

The Royal Armouries expects to receive around 750,000 visitors in the first year.

For more information contact:
The Royal Armouries
Armouries Drive, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, LS 10 lLT
Tel: +44 113 2456456 | Fax: +44 113 2444882.

  

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