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A museum exhibition dedicated to the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their links to Bassetlaw has opened in Retford, Nottinghamshire, ahead of next year's 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Sailing.
The Pilgrims Gallery, which was opened on September 17 as part of Bassetlaw Museum, celebrates the life of William Brewster, one of Bassetlaw's most famous pilgrims. The Gallery tells the story of Brewster's life in the UK, his journey on the Mayflower and subsequent experiences in Leiden, Holland, and then life on American soil. Among the Gallery's displays is a study inspired by one which would have existed at Scrooby Manor, where Brewster lived. A mirror will also allow visitors to see a visage of William Brewster recounting four stories of his early life in North Nottinghamshire.
The Gallery was formally opened by Dr Jeremy Bangs, Director of The Leiden American Pilgrim Museum in the Netherlands, John Everitt, Committee member for the Midlands & East, representing The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace and Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, Cllr Debbie Merryweather.
Discussing the opening, Bassetlaw District Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Jo White said; “One of the features within the gallery that I am most proud of is how we have tackled telling the controversial aspects of the subject of colonisation. We have done this by working closely with the Wampanoag nation with whom we have built a strong relationship and they have written their own story and provided the images that accompany those panels”.
John Everitt, Committee member for England: Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It’s fantastic to see the gallery opening in time for the landmark Mayflower 400 anniversary next year. With many of the ship’s passengers, the Separatists, being from the East Midlands, the story of the Mayflower is intrinsic to the heritage of the area, and thanks to National Lottery players the inspiring stories of their journeys and pursuit of tolerance and freedom, will live on through the gallery.”
The Pilgrims Gallery is part of a £750,000 National Lottery-funded project which commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America in 1620. In 2020, events take place across the UK and the US to commemorate an important moment in the history of the United States, and a ship's passage which will forever connect the UK and the USA.
Details on visiting the Pilgrims Gallery can be found via www.pilgrimroots.co.uk.