A weekend of events took place in Huntingdon over the week to mark the re-opening of the town’s Cromwell Museum.
An opening ceremony, attended by former Huntingdon MP John Major, took place as well as activities from the Sealed Knot Society.
The museum recieved grants grants totalling £160,000 for a refurbishment and a display has been created highlighting the museum's internationally important collections, to tell the story of Oliver Cromwell in a more engaging way.
The new-look exhibition aims to reveal more about Cromwell, from his origins in Huntingdon to his ultimate role as Lord Protector. It seeks to portray this controversial and complex individual 'warts and all' whilst exploding common myths, through his words, personal effects and contemporary paintings. It also looks at the impact he has had in the last 350 years since on society, culture, government and democracy.
Stuart Orme, curator of the Cromwell Museum said: "Our aim with our new displays is to present the different faces of Cromwell, a man who is both celebrated and reviled in equal measure. We aim to enable our visitors to better understand him as a man and not just his reputation. We're very honoured to have our esteemed patron, Sir John Major, reopen the museum. We're also very grateful to our friends in the Sealed Knot Society who staged a colourful march of Civil War soldiers through the town to celebrate our reopening."
The museum holds the best collection of objects relating to the life and times of Oliver Cromwell on public display in the world, located in the former Huntingdon Grammar School building, which is both the oldest building in the town and was where he went to school. More of these objects are now on display than ever before, including rarely seen personal items, letters and paintings. These include a life sized portrait by Robert Walker which has been specially restored and can now be seen up close; his swords and hat; and for the first time on public display a remarkable letter in which Cromwell wrote about his struggle with depression. The displays also include more interactive elements and make use of new technology to bring Cromwell's story to life for visitors.
Sir John Major said: "As one of Cromwell's successors as a Member of Parliament for Huntingdon, I am proud to be patron of the Cromwell Museum Trust, and delighted to have this opportunity to invite you to discover more about the life and times of this extraordinary man."
Camilla Nichol, chairman of the Cromwell Museum Trust added: "Over the last four months we've been working hard behind the scenes with our designers, JANVS/VIDAR, to create a set of new displays incorporating our amazing collection and telling the remarkable and controversial story of Oliver Cromwell for a new generation of visitors. We hope that everyone will enjoy the new displays and are very grateful to our funders, donors and volunteers who have supported these changes".
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am till 4pm, with admission free of charge. For more information and to keep up to date, visit the museum's website at www.cromwellmuseum.org, follow it on Facebook at @thecromwellmuseum or on Twitter at @museumcromwell.