City-wide museum trail has been hailed a “phenomenal success” attracting attention from visitors all over the world
Chester city centre’s unique museum trail ‘Hoot’s Route’ is set to finish this Sunday (15 November) with more than 30 historic treasures from Chester’s past returning to the vaults of the Grosvenor Museum.
Described by historians as the world’s first and only citywide museum, Hoot’s Route has seen more than 30 businesses in the heart of the city transformed into mini-museums over the past six months, attracting attention from visitors all over the world.
Ancient artefacts including elegant Victorian gowns, Viking combs and hoards of Roman treasure have been put on public display for the very first time as part of the free trail, which was created by CH1ChesterBID and BIG Heritage for the history and heritage project Chester Unlocked.
“Hoot’s Route has been incredibly popular with people of all ages and we’ve been absolutely delighted with the feedback we’ve received,” said Rita Waters, Chief Executive of CH1ChesterBID.
“Over the past six months, businesses involved in the trail have reported increases in footfall and they’ve told us that it’s given them the opportunity to engage with a range of new customers and drive extra revenue as a result. The public response has been fantastic too – we’ve given away thousands of maps and seen visitors from countries all over the world including China, America, Italy and Spain exploring the city centre to find historic artefacts.
“There are just a few days left now so we’re encouraging everyone to make the most of this final weekend by getting a copy of the map from selected retailers or our website and taking on the trail for themselves before it’s too late.”
Businesses throughout Chester city centre including Chester Castle Galleries, Funky Aardvark, Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Penhaligon’s and The Hat Place have all been involved in Hoot’s Route with each store exhibiting an item with a historical connection to their business.
Frances Woodhouse, Gallery Manager of Chester Castle Galleries, said: “We’ve had Roman jewellery on display in the store and we’ve seen plenty of visitors coming in to take a look and also local residents having fun rediscovering their own city.
“It’s been a phenomenal success in our opinion. Hoot’s Route has got more people through our front door and it’s been a great conversation-starter, helping us to build relationships with new customers and increase awareness of our gallery.”
Dean Paton, Managing Director of Big Heritage, added: “This is the world’s first and only citywide museum trail and it’s given us the opportunity to showcase some of Chester’s rich and hidden history like never before. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and it’s almost time for us to return these artefacts to the Grosvenor Museum for safekeeping.
“As a local archaeologist, I’m exceptionally proud to have been involved in this project. We’ve taken history to the high street with Hoot’s Route and I think we’ve given many people a new appreciation of the fascinating heritage that exists all around them in Chester.”
The Hoot’s Route museum trail map is available to download or can be found in participating retailers and within the Visitor Information Centre in the city centre.
The Chester Unlocked project continues with the launch of a third and final Deva Codex challenge later this year. More details will be announced soon.
For more information about Hoot’s Route or the Deva Codex challenges,visit chesterunlocked