Tullie House Museum is proud to announce that it is the first organisation along Hadrian’s Wall to visibly carry the UNESCO, World Heritage emblem.
The United Nations organisation, UNESCO, was created in London in 1945 to help build lasting peace through education, science, and culture. Its 1972 ‘World Heritage Convention’, an international agreement based on the premise that certain places on Earth are of such outstanding universal value that they should form part of the common heritage of humankind, remains its most successful international treaty.
World Heritage Sites are such special places that are considered irreplaceable sources of inspiration and therefore they belong to all of the peoples of the world.
Hadrian’s Wall is a part of the frontier of a great empire that encompassed much of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It is a symbol of a common heritage. The Wall was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987. It is now a component part of a much larger and more ambitious Site: the Frontiers of the Roman Empire. This is a ‘transnational’ Site: the result of the German Limes being added in 2005, and the Antonine Wall (between the Forth and the Clyde, in Scotland) in 2008.
A significant amount of the Roman archaeology held by Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery is from Hadrian’s Wall, the forts, milecastles and settlements that surrounded this great fortification. The Museum also has two permanent galleries devoted to explaining what life was like in the far north western edge of the Roman Empire.
Promoting the UNESCO emblem recognises the importance of the collections and helps promote the significance of Hadrian’s Wall as a World Heritage Site and UNESCO’s mission to help create a global culture of peace. The exhibitions within Tullie House not only talk about the Roman history of the wall but of other walls and barriers across the world and asks whether such barriers really help the development of peace.
Andrew Mackay, Tullie House Museum Director says: “The museum is a major repository for the rich archaeology associated with Hadrian’s Wall and so it’s really important to remind people of the significance of the collection and the importance of the Roman Empire. It is easy to forget that Hadrian’s Wall is just as important as places like the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China. Hopefully, the UNESCO emblem will go some way towards reminding people of the rich heritage on their doorstep.”
Prof Peter Stone OBE, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University says: “The World Heritage designation is not given lightly and is seen as a statement of a site’s universal value to all people. Tullie House should be very proud to be carrying it. Displaying the UNESCO emblem signals to visitors - especially international visitors - that Tullie House plays an important role in promoting world heritage and UNESCO’s primary mission to encourage peace through understanding and promoting the world’s diverse cultures.”
Jane, Lady Gibson, Chair of the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership Board, says: “We are very pleased to see the UNESCO emblem on Tullie House Museum. It seems very timely as we make plans to celebrate 1900 years of continuous history of this special place. We have one of the world’s most famous landmarks in our fields, villages, towns and cities. We should all be very proud to have such a strong heritage and grateful that we have organisations like Tullie House Museum there to safeguard many precious artefacts for future generations.”