Bruns has won the tender of general contractor for the complete exhibition fit-out and the display cases, for the 'open treasure', a world class exhibition where the rich collection of the Durham Cathedral will be exhibited in an extraordinary way.
Durham Cathedral is one of the country's best-loved buildings. Situated at the heart of the local community for over 900 years, the Cathedral today welcomes locals and visitors alike to share in its worship and music; discover its magnificent heritage; participate in events and activities and to be inspired. The Grade 1 listed building lies within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of only two English cathedrals to be awarded this designation and reflective of its importance in the nation's heritage. Built as the Shrine of St Cuthbert, the Cathedral is also the final resting place of the Venerable Bede; and within its walls lie artefacts of historical, cultural and religious significance including paintings, sculpture, textiles, metalwork and manuscripts dating from the 6th century.
Open Treasure is a major development project that will provide visitors to Durham Cathedral with an experience to match its international, cultural and historic value. It will open up both buildings and collections so that they can be discovered and enjoyed by many more people of all ages and backgrounds. Visitor numbers will increase, generating additional revenue through ancillary spending and donations. This will contribute towards the on-going conservation of the Cathedral and its collections, and ensure that access to the Cathedral Church remains free for all.
The project will tell the story of previously 'hidden' claustral spaces; revealing their historical and architectural significance through the creation of a new exhibition route which will begin at the Monks' Dormitory and end in the Great Kitchen. These new exhibition spaces will allow Durham Cathedral to display more of the treasures in its internationally-important collections, which it currently lacks both the space and the specialist facilities to do.
Open Treasure creates the opportunity for the Cathedral to explain and interpret at a number of levels. These range from the Cathedral buildings themselves to the objects on permanent and temporary display in the Monks’ Dormitory, Great Kitchen and elsewhere, to the life of the Cathedral both in the past and today. Extensive work at the highest professional standards is being undertaken to ensure that a variety of interpretive methods are used and that all who visit are not only informed in ways that make sense to them, but are also encouraged to connect with the faith and passion which lie behind the fabric, the objects, the spaces and the people of this great Cathedral long after their visit.
Open Treasure is more than a major capital development for the Cathedral. It is also an opportunity for us to improve further the care we take of our heritage of buildings and collections while not being a financial burden on others. Most important of all, it is the Cathedral equipping itself to serve the people of the region, to be a place for visitors and pilgrims, and to help people find meaning, delight, enjoyment, purpose and good news for their lives today.