This is the final stage of Mather & Co’s interpretation, following its development of the Orb, an interactive metallic dome showcasing the restoration work taking place on the Great East Window – one of the largest stained glass windows in the world.
Mather & Co’s work is part of the £20m York Minster Revealed project, a restoration, conservation and interpretation programme, of which £10.5m has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Undercroft chambers, Treasury and Crypt areas comprise modern and medieval spaces below ground level at York Minster and reveal and give public access to the remains of a Roman barracks, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery and the foundations of the Norman Minster, (the forerunner to the present cathedral) for the first time.
An immersive interactive journey introduces visitors to a narrative explaining two millennia of York’s history, using a ‘ribbon’ as an interpretive tool.
The ribbon mainly uses graphics but is interspersed by interactive sections, multimedia and audio-visual displays, as well as artifacts – many of which have never been seen before.
Following the contours of either the floor, walls and ceilings of the spaces, the ribbon navigates visitors through each chamber, sometimes stopping at 3D computer reconstructions, seating or interactive tables.
The design ensures the minimum intrusion of permanent structures needed for graphics according to Mather & Co, which says it gives a better sense of space.
Many of the Minster’s ceremonial items can be found in the Treasury – one of the medieval underground chambers – and are now placed in high quality display cases organised by theme.
Mather & Co project designer Paul Lee, who has led much of the design and development says, ‘Working within the extremely challenging spaces of the Undercroft, our collections and stories provide the opportunity to challenge and stretch the boundaries of what can be achieved within a cathedral setting.
‘Revealing York Minster is a totally unique and exciting exhibition experience that drives the historical significance of York Minster home to every visitor.’