The future Bayeux Tapestry Museum is taking shape

Launched in 2013, the renovation and extension project of the Bayeux Tapestry Museum has just reached a new stage, with the presentation of plans for the future space to the public and the press on Friday February 2. The opening of the new museum is now set for 2027, on the occasion of the celebration of the millennium of the birth of William the Conqueror (c.1027-1087), whose famous 11th century tapestry retraces the great deeds. The current museum will be closed to the public from the end of summer 2025.

The project provides for the construction of a 3,350 m² extension, attached to the Grand Seminary (17th century) which will be completely renovated. This new building will house in a straight line – and no longer in its current arcuate form – the Bayeux Tapestry, 70 meters long. The entire journey will revolve around the tapestry, which will now be presented on an inclined support. The spaces will be divided into two levels, which will allow the public to observe the embroidery from different angles. “It’s important that the visitor can see it in one piece, also taking a step back and also observing it in a very intimate way”, explains Stephen Barrett, architect at RSHP, the firm in charge of the project. It is therefore planned that the visitor will be able to discover the tapestry overlooking the exhibition gallery with a 180° view and admire it more closely by going down to the lower level.

Architects’ projections of the future Bayeux Tapestry Museum.

© Cabinet RSHP

Throughout the duration of the work, the Bayeux Tapestry will be kept in a custom-made crate stored in reserves in Bayeux. Contrary to what was initially planned, it will not be restored during the closure of the museum but after the completion of the project. Estimated at 35 million euros in May 2023, the budget for the operation is now set at 38 million euros. “The State, the Region and the Department will contribute 10 million each, while the City will contribute 8 million euros” specifies Patrick Gomont, the mayor of the city.

The plans for the new museum, however, leave many local residents skeptical. While they welcome the initiative, most of them agree that the teams did not take enough into account the visual impact of such a building on the surrounding landscape. Another area of ​​concern for residents: the removal of 74 parking spaces to build the annex. Several Bayeusains therefore created the Tapisserie 2027 association, which attempts to establish a dialogue with the project leaders to consider a revision of the dimensions of the extension. The sketches of the future museum are currently visible in the chapel, located in the main courtyard of the current museum.

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