Priceless treasures from the British Museum to be displayed in Halifax as part of drive to bring heritage to the north

The Piece Hall
The Piece Hall
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Historic artifacts will be taken 'on tour' by the British Museum as part of an initiative to improve access to heritage.

Calderdale Council are currently in talks with the British Museum, and their head of national programmes Maria Bojanowska visited the Piece Hall in Halifax last week to scout potential locations where the museum's collection could be displayed.

The Bankfield Museum

The Bankfield Museum

The British Museum want to bring some of their eight million historic items out of London over the next year in order to widen access to them.

The Covent Garden of the north: How the Piece Hall changed Halifax
The Bankfield Museum and Shibden Hall - the home of Anne Lister, the subject of the BBC period drama Gentleman Jack - are also being considered as hosts.

A deputation from Calderdale is likely to visit London to personally select treasures to bring back to Halifax.

The Piece Hall Trust's CEO Nicky Chance-Thompson said:-

Shibden Hall

Shibden Hall

"The British Museum have a lot of artifacts that they cannot put on show, and the purpose of this programme is to take some of them on tour into communities which can identify with them.

"A lot of the collection is from the British colonial period and we were thinking of bringing back items from Pakistan to Calderdale, where there is a large Asian community.

"Some of the items are very precious and need specific display conditions, but the Piece Hall, Bankfield and Shibden are all being considered. It's an opportunity to engage with communities who don't get a chance to access history or visit London, and who might find visiting large museums daunting.

"It's a lovely way to use the Piece Hall building and will encourage a sense of pride and identity."

Although a date has not been set for the arrival of the treasures, Nicky says it is a case of 'if, not when'.

"We have been invited down to London and will select items that we feel represent a moment in time, and bring them to Halifax.

"They have been trialling this idea in other places but I believe it is the first time they have brought treasures to Yorkshire."

The MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch, is involved in the collaboration through her role as a member of the British Museum's All-Party Parliamentary Group.