A plan to actively encourage Stonehenge visitors to understand the wider archaeological landscape of Wiltshire through surrounding museum collections has been given the go-ahead.
The new Stonehenge visitor centre at Airman’s Corner (above) will tell the story of the stones in a dedicated exhibition space after English Heritage, the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and the Wiltshire Heritage Museum agreed a joint project under a Memorandum of Understanding today (January 11).
Important artefacts including Wiltshire Heritage’s Bush Barrow Treasures – the Bronze Age burial described as "Britain's first crown jewels" when it was found at Stonehenge in 2009 – will be loaned to English Heritage for the dedicated display, which aims to entice visitors to explore the wider region as well as the famous stones.
"This is an exciting development which means that together we can present the full story of Stonehenge and encourage visitors to explore Wiltshire," said David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.
Wiltshire Heritage Museum's Bush Barrow collection could be loaned to the visitor centre as part of the joint display. © David Bukach and Birmingham University
"The future exhibition will draw on all the senses and lead people to a greater understanding not just of Stonehenge but the generation of the people who built it," said Loraine Knowles, Stonehenge Project Director at English Heritage.
"The knowledge and collections that local museums can contribute to creating this experience is considerable and I am very pleased that we are working together."
Adrian Green, Director of the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, said he was "delighted" with the partnership.
"We look forward to supporting the development of the visitor centre, and also redisplaying our own nationally important collections from the World Heritage Site to complement the new exhibition at Stonehenge," he added.