Scarborough's Gristhorpe Man on the move to allow museum's revamp

Gristhorpe Man has been packed away and moved into a secure museum store.
Gristhorpe Man has been packed away and moved into a secure museum store.

Scarborough’s very own Gristhorpe Man has had to be removed from the place it has resided for nearly 200 years.

The 4,000-year-old skeleton and coffin of the famous Bronze Age warrior chieftain has been transported to a controlled museum store to allow essential building works to take place at the Rotunda.

The museum’s star attraction, considered to be the best example of tree burial in Britain, has been away from the public eye since September last year when a leak in the roof forced the Shell Gallery to close.

Four months on, the gallery remains shut as Scarborough Museums Trust is now planning a major revamp to take place alongside remedial works.

Simon Hedges, Creative Director at the trust said: “After the damage of the water on the case, trying to repair it was useless so we thought of using this as an opportunity to redevelop the Shell Gallery. There’s been a lot of discussions and the board have created a subcommittee to overlook the project and work with Scarborough Borough Council [which owns the building].”

The refurbishment will be delivered through a four-stage process in which the trust will decide “what story we want to tell” and come up with plans to provide visitors with a more engaging learning experience.

These could include the development of interactive exhibitions, workshops for local schools, 3D scanning or AR (augmented reality) trails.

Once plans are drawn, it will be up to the public to give their input. A public consultation will then give residents the chance to air their views on the proposals and put ideas forward.

This will then be followed by another consultation to assess the technical delivery, costs and timescale of the overall project.

Mr Hedges added: “It’s quite a long process and we want to do it properly so we’re open to ideas from the community to see what people would like from their local museum.”

The Shell Gallery is expected to re-open by the end of the year or the beginning of next year.

It is not yet known when Gristhorpe Man will return on display as it might be involved in further research.