Stonehenge, a worldwide archeological wonder and UNESCO world heritage site, has a new approach to welcoming its visitors. There is a brand new museum and the original landscape has been restored. This was a project that cost almost 30 million British pounds and was completed in record time.
The old parking lot and ugly access road were eliminated and now visitors can experience the excitement of arriving at Stonehenge just as visitors did in ancient times. A visit to the site begins at the Visitor Center, which is situated a mile and a half from the archeological site and is completely hidden from view.
Designed by Haley Sharpe Design (Toronto-Leicester) according to the most advanced criteria of environmental sustainability and compatibility, the new center, which is expected to welcome more than a million people a year from all over the world, will also have a museum space dedicated to the history of the famous ring of Neolithic stones and rich surrounding area.
The exhibition sees science tipping its hat at mystery. It includes a suggestive virtual display inside the ring of stones at the dawn of the summer solstice. It continues on with a permanent section that includes objects found during digs at the site as well as a section for temporary exhibitions.
The display cases in the new Visitor Center were created by Goppion, which was awarded the contract after making a successful bid with the English Heritage organization at the beginning of 2013.
There are 9 large display cases that were designed and constructed especially for this project. They are in glass and steel and come in two different types – there are island models for the permanent collections and wall models for exhibitions. They were designed after working in close contact with English Heritage, specifically with David Thickett, Senior Conservation Scientist, and designer Calvin Kallis. Goppion ‘s pieces respond to the client’s request for the highest levels of quality. These display cases have the most sophisticated climate-control systems to guarantee the utmost in conservation and air-tightness inside a building constructed according to bio-architectural standards.
To best protect the objects most at risk from humidity, the island cases feature an innovative air desiccation (Munter) system. The wall units have internal mechanisms for relative humidity control and are placed inside technical compartments to control the temperature.