Bayeux Tapestry to come to life in ambitious museum revamp

Ahead of William the Conqueror's 1,000th birthday, the home of the Bayeux Tapestry is prepping for major renovations. Thanks to a two-storey extension and restorations to its existing building, the Bayeux Museum plans to double its exhibition space while keeping conservation front and centre.

The Bayeux Museum in Normandy, northern France, has housed the historic tapestry for the past four decades.

It is getting a €38 million facelift led by British architects RSHP.

“In terms of economic and cultural influence, this is the most complex and ambitious project ever undertaken by the town of Bayeux,” says the commune's mayor, Patrick Gomont.

Thousand-year history

A one-of-a-kind historical item, the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry tells the tale of William the Conqueror’s 1066 conquest of England across nine embroidered panels, with scenes set in France and England.

RSHP partner Stephen Barrett highlighted the symbolism: “As a British practice with a long history of working in France, there’s poetry in being able to contribute to a project that symbolises the deep connections between our two countries,” he said.

“[It’s] a unique embodiment of this shared past.”

The tapestry survived fires in the Middle Ages and public condemnation during the French Revolution. It has been safely housed in Bayeux’s converted 17th-century seminary since 1983.

Currently one of the only publicly displayed works on Unesco’s “Memory of the World” register, the tapestry’s 70-metre length equals the distance between the pillars of the Eiffel Tower.

Tapestry to be put in storage

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Crafty Bayeux artisans give traditional French lace a modern touch
French officials cast doubt on Bayeux Tapestry loan to Britain
Long-awaited British memorial opens in Normandy to remember D-Day fallen