On Friday, 8th June I attended the Great Exhibition of the North’s opening ceremony to help support the cultural sector in the North. The Exhibition is a free, summer-long celebration of the North of England, hosted in Newcastle/Gateshead, which is packed full of amazing exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation and intriguing artwork.
In my capacity as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism I have been keen to support the development of culture and tourism in areas outside London which is why I was pleased to support this great exhibition!
As well as being host to some wonderful live performances, more than 200 items have been loaned to the Exhibition from museums around the UK including some of the museums under my remit. One of these was Stephenson’s Rocket, an early steam locomotive made in 1829 – loaned from the London Science Museum. Museums in the UK are home to a wide array of globally important items and I am pleased that at the Great Exhibition they will be seen by an audience that may not have had the pleasure!
During my time at the Exhibition I saw many exciting pieces of art – such as the famous Damien Hirst shark which you can see in the picture – as well as trying my hand at a few of the virtual reality headsets. Using a virtual reality headset I was able to take a ride on the Stephenson Rocket train and also stand on top of an offshore wind turbine!
The Great Exhibition will be a huge boost to the local area and is a wonderful celebration of some of the best that the UK has to offer.