Newmarket’s National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art enters final furlong

by Tom Anstey | 26 May 2016

25 years on from its inception, work is nearing completion on Newmarket’s £14m (US$20.4m, €18.2m) National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, which sees the Palace building and stables transformed to create a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to the sport of horseracing.

Celebrating more than 350 years of sporting history, Mather & Co are behind the plans, which gained Heritage Lottery funding in 2012 to the tune of £4.25m (US$6.2m, €5.5m), with funding also coming from Forest Heath (£1.3m), Suffolk County Council (£1m), the Wellcome Trust and a number of private individuals.

As part of the multi-million pound transformation the historic Palace House will display a collection of sporting artwork dating back as far as the 17th century, while the Kings Yard stables will become home to exhibits telling the story behind racing. Rothschild Yard will also become the new home for charity organisation Retraining of Horses. The area will include small displays and interactive hands-on exhibits about the charity, as well as a viewing area where visitors can observe the horses being trained on-site.

“We’ve done full exhibition design across the site,” said Sam Withers, project designer for Mather speaking to CLAD. “Palace House has now been completed – that was phase one of the project. The main exhibition will be in the trainer’s house. The exhibition will look at the home of horseracing – Newmarket – and the development of horseracing as a sport."

According to Withers, interaction will be a key part of the centre, which will use a number of technologies to create an eye-catching experience.

“It’s a very immersive space,” she said. “The central exhibit is of a life-size horse that uses projection mapping to identify the bone structure, muscle groupings and anatomy of a thoroughbred horse. That’s one of a range of techniques we’ll be using to engross you in the experience.

“Right now they’re filming Pepper’s Ghost for an interactive exhibit where you’ll meet the likes of Clare Balding, Frankie DeTori and AP McCoy. They’re filming a horse in there too using the same technique.”

The project itself has been quite complex due to its historic setting and listed status of many of Newmarket’s buildings. Central to the new gallery spaces is the architecturally significant spine wall, the original external wall from the Trainer’s House. Using a considered design approach, Mather have created an object and graphic display which sits in front of the wall, exploring the history of the jumps and flats whilst interpreting and showcasing the wall itself as an exhibit.

“It’s quite a vast site,” continued Withers. “You can do it as a full day visit but then you’ve also got the different elements that you can go and pick up on if you’re there for the races.”

Now in the final stages, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art expects to open to the public in Q3 of 2016.

Newmarket  Horse Racing  sport  museum  heritage  gallery  mather  National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art 
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25 years on from its inception, work is nearing completion on Newmarket’s £14m (US$20.4m, €18.2m) National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, which sees the Palace building and stables transformed to create a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to the sport of horseracing. Celebrating more than 350 years of sporting history, Mather & Co are behind the plans, which gained Heritage Lottery funding in 2012 to the tune of £4.25m (US$6.2m,
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The central exhibit is of a life-size horse that uses projection mapping to identify the bone structure, muscle groupings and anatomy of a thoroughbred horse / Mather
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