The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art is complete.
On 24th October the National Heritage Centre at Palace House will be open in its entirety to the public. The last phase to have been completed is the National Horseracing Museum which is now situated in the Trainer’s House and King’s Yard Galleries.
The new and improved Museum presents 12 galleries that showcase the internationally significant collection that has grown up over the last 30 years. The collection, which comprises objects, paintings, trophies and silks is interpreted using the latest interactive and audio-visual technologies that will show everybody, no matter what their knowledge in horse racing, a fascinating and at times intriguing journey through the history of the sport.
The Museum begins in a gallery named ‘Under Starters Orders’ where the story of how the sport originated is told. On display here will be one of the oldest racing trophies in the country, the Carlisle racing bells. These date back to the 1560s and 1590s and have been loaned to the NHRM from Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. This gallery also explains the role Newmarket has played in the development of racing from the 17th century displayed via an exciting and fact filled audio-visual presentation.
The Royal Connections display concentrates on the 400 year old association of Royals and racing from James I to Her Majesty the Queen. Here, you can explore the facts and stories through a computer interactive that highlights each monarch’s racing connection, and objects on loan from the Royal Collection.
Other galleries concentrate on the equine and human heroes and legends of the sport, with artefacts on show associated with legendary figures such as Francis Buckle and Fred Archer right the way through to objects donated by A P McCoy and Frankie Dettori.
One of the most exciting new features in the National Horseracing Museum is a gallery named ‘The Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred’ which looks at the science of the sport. On display will be a life size projection of a racehorse galloping and jumping as it would in a race with the focus being on the anatomy of the racehorse. Here you will be shown how the muscles, skeleton and organs work to make the thoroughbred the elite athlete that it is today. This will be joined by the skeleton of Hyperion. An emphasis is also on the genetics and DNA of the thoroughbred, with an interactive display allowing you to create your ‘perfect racehorse’.
The final gallery in the Trainer’s House is a cinematic experience that allows you
to get up close to past and present racing personalities as they talk through their racing achievements and experiences. In here you will find Claire Balding, Dame Judi Dench, Bob Champion and Lester Piggott, just to name a few!
In the King’s Yard the focus shifts to behind the scenes of the sport. Each stable presents a separate gallery, beginning with the skeleton believed to be Pot8os, the
son of the great Eclipse who was discovered at Hare Park in the roots of an overturned tree after a storm. He has been carefully pieced back together by a team at Cambridge University over the past year. The Weatherbys Gallery concentrates on the registration process, here you can name a horse on one of the computer generated interactives and chose your racing colours. Another new and exciting element to the Museum is the Roberts Veterinary Collection which shows some of the equipment that pioneering vet Professor Edwin James Roberts used when he performed the lifesaving operation on Derby winner Mill Reef. The Museum would not be complete without the famous racehorse simulator which will be installed and ready for use from 1st November.
The new National Horseracing Museum will allow visitors to enjoy the incredible collection in a fascinating new environment. It has been the result of many years of hard work from the Curatorial team who have ensured some of the most treasured artefacts from racings past have been preserved and restored for the public to enjoy.