Michael as Arts, Heritage and Tourism Minister: Update

In the past fortnight I have continued to be extremely busy with my ministerial duties as Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism. Last week was a half term ‘recess week’ – which means that Parliament was not sitting. However, I usually continue working during recess weeks, either in my ministerial role or in my Northampton North constituency, and this occasion has been no different as I have continued my ministerial and constituency duties.

On Thursday, 8th February I travelled to Liverpool to attend the opening of the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at the World Museum. The famous Terracotta Army is a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of the First Emperor of China, the artefacts said to be over 2,200 years old were discovered in an underground tomb in 1974 – it is said that there are 8,000 soldiers with every single face being different. The World Museum in Liverpool now hosts the biggest collection of these warriors outside China. It was a pleasure to speak at the opening of the exhibition and read a message from the Prime Minister – our country’s museums truly do display the best the world has to offer!

During recess week I visited a variety of events and organisations including, amongst other things:

Old Royal Naval College: The Old Royal Naval College is an outstanding World Heritage Site which over the years has been used as Greenwich Palace, the Royal Naval Hospital of Seamen and then the Royal Naval College. As a strong supporter of our Armed Forces it was a pleasure to visit this extraordinary site which has a long history of supporting and training our world class Navy. The College exhibits a wide range of history: both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were born on the site of what is now the College, when it was Greenwich Palace.

Postal Museum: a new museum, run by the Postal Heritage Trust, which celebrates the history of a great British invention – post! The museum is host to attractions including a commemorative stamp that would have been used if Scotland had won the 1978 FIFA World Cup, telegrams from the night that the Titanic sunk and the original copy of Ulysses – a novel written by James Joyce, widely considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature due to its depiction of Homer’s Odyssey in a modern setting, and a book that was banned when it was first published in 1922. Visitors can also take a ride on the ‘mail rail’ which was used to transport post under London from 1927 to 2003.

I am delighted to be able to showcase and celebrate all that Britain has to offer in my ministerial role and I will continue to promote Northampton and the UK’s superb arts and heritage.