Civil War exhibition draws on Leicester expertise

University of Leicester staff and students have contributed research expertise and advice to a new exhibition at the National Civil War Centre in Newark, as well as compiling the exhibition brochure.

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ was officially launched on 4 September 2019 by Earl Spencer, an accomplished published historian of the Civil Wars. The exhibition is located in two galleries on the museum’s second floor, and focuses on the important legacies of the Civil War in themed sections on Conflict, Chaos and Creativity.

The exhibition’s interactive elements include the chance to try some 17th century battlefield surgery on a realistic wounded arm, to practise spycraft with a cipher wheel and to hear popular ballads from the 1600s. Some of the fascinating exhibits include a genuine piece of the sash King Charles I wore to his execution, Oliver Cromwell’s hat and sword, and a bible box which, when opened, spouts messages from religious sects of the period.

Professor Andrew Hopper, Dr Ismini Pells and research postgraduate Diane Strange from the Centre for English Local History all helped with the planning and creation of the exhibition and the accompanying 24-page colour brochure. Postgraduate students in History and Museum Studies will be conducting evaluation of visitors’ experience of the exhibition in September and October, and drafting a report to assist the National Civil War Centre with their future strategy.

This initiative has been funded by the Student Development Fund of the Midlands 4 Cities Consortium of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as well as an Impact Acceleration Award from the Economic and Social Research Council. Both the University of Leicester and the National Civil War Centre are grateful for this important support.

The National Civil War Centre is also the official impact and public engagement partner of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Conflict, Welfare and Memory during and after the English Civil Wars, 1642-1710, led by the University of Leicester.