The late fourteenth-century Monks’ Dormitory, situated above the west range of the Cloisters, is the only intact monastic dormitory in England.
The long oak-beamed room – one of the most spectacular of English mediaeval halls - was once divided by wooden partitions into narrow cubicles in which the Cathedral’s resident Benedictine monks would study and sleep. Since 1856 it has served as a library, and an exhibition space for the Cathedral’s collection of Anglo-Saxon stones and crosses.
Open Treasure has transformed the Monks’ Dormitory into an accessible, visitor-friendly exhibition space, whilst retaining and enhancing its function as a working library.
The story of the monastic community, including the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 and ensuing formation of the Church of England, is told through interpreted exhibitions. Attention has been drawn to the architectural features of the space and its former usage through a reconstructed monk’s cubicle. Interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages showcase the Cathedral’s history and heritage through the display of its collections.
Access has been improved via a new lift at the day stair; and under floor heating and a new lighting system has been installed.