A talented member of the English Heritage team at Housesteads Roman Fort has put her own artistic stamp on the new exhibition by designing a series of illustrations, which will feature throughout the site when it re-opens this spring.
Housesteads Site Manager Sue Hodnett, from Allendale, has worked for English Heritage for over seven years; five of those have been spent welcoming visitors to Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall. She is also an accomplished artist in her own right and armed with a degree in Fine Art she was tasked by English Heritage, to create the illustrations of a Roman Soldier who will tell the story of the fort.
Her character ‘Felix’, is a 17-year-old new recruit to the Roman Army, he is used in the new exhibition as a way of engaging with younger visitors and helping them to understand and explore the fort. Sue’s designs will feature in the museum and on the outside interpretation panels, at significant points around the fort.
Sue, who is inspired by the stunning setting she works in every day has also painted landscapes of the wall and portraits of Hadrian. She exhibits her artwork both nationally and internationally. Sue said: “Felix is a character I have developed over a number of years on activities for school visits. He’s a young auxiliary soldier and will tell his story and provide a great introduction to Roman history for children and young people visiting the new exhibition.
“To have the opportunity to be a part of the Housesteads story is a real privilege for me. I have worked for English Heritage for over seven years now and to be able to create a lasting impression by doing something I love and have it featured in the fort is incredibly rewarding.
“It’s a very exciting time for Housesteads and I can’t wait to see my illustrations unveiled when the new museum opens to the public this spring.”
The new English Heritage museum and shop will open to the public this April. Whilst this is still in development, visitors can access the fort free of charge or visit the Roman Museums and collections at Chesters, Birdoswald and Corbridge which remain open at weekends throughout the winter.
The Museum development is the first phase of an exciting project for English Heritage, National Trust and Northumberland National Park Authority, working in partnership to improve the property and enhance the visitor experience at Housesteads. National Trust has also been granted planning permission for Phase 2 of the project with work due to take place towards the end of 2012. This will include improving the welcome for visitors; remodelling the visitor centre, toilets, shop and café.
Northumberland National Park Authority is improving the visitor infrastructure. Improvements to the car park and access points will ultimately provide 40 additional car park spaces and better access for visitors.
Housesteads Roman Fort winter opening hours
English Heritage: February – March 2012 Museum at Housesteads closed. Fort open free of charge daily 10am to dusk. Fort will be locked at dusk. Disabled parking limited during the development works.
National Trust: Visitor Centre and Shop open daily 10am -4pm.
The Northumberland National Park car park remains open during the period of improvement works.