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History center to display Bayeux Tapestry replica

A 224-foot-long replica of the Bayeux Tapestry acquired by the University of North Georgia (UNG) in 2014 will be on display Oct. 10-17 at the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville, Georgia. Created in the 1070s, the original, embroidered Bayeux Tapestry is considered a masterpiece of medieval art that depicts historic events leading up to the Norman conquest of England.

The replica at UNG was commissioned in the 1980s by Dr. E. D. Wheeler, a retired judge and former dean at Oglethorpe University, and was hand-painted in acrylic on linen by artist Margaret ReVille.

Dr. Tim May, professor of history and associate dean of UNG's College of Arts & Letters, said the accuracy of the replica makes it useful for studying the era's historical events and everyday life.

One of the people involved in the upcoming Oct. 11
Family Day event featuring the Bayeux Tapestry
acquired by UNG shows the similarity between his
costume and a figure from the original tapestry.

"The Bayeux tapestry is an amazing artifact that intertwines art and history and explains the Norman conquest of England in comic book fashion," May said. "While providing the official history, it also has some features or 'Easter eggs' that tell us some of the 'unofficial' events. UNG's collaboration with the Northeast Georgia Historical Center is an excellent combination of institutions to give this magnificent piece of history great exposure to the region."

The replica will be on public display at the history center, located at 322 Academy St. NE in Gainesville. The exhibition coincides with one of the seminal historical events depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, the Battle of Hastings on Oct. 14, 1066.

On Oct. 11, the center will feature the replica in a free Family Day event, "1066 - The Year of the Three Kings," that also will include hands-on activities for children and demonstrations of medieval cooking, weapons and other aspects of daily life. Activities are scheduled from 1-4 p.m. with interpretive tours of the exhibit every 20 minutes; a weapons demonstration is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Glen Kyle, history center director, said he looks forward to displaying UNG's Bayeux Tapestry replica.

"We are very pleased to partner with the University of North Georgia to bring this phenomenal artifact to the public. Education is the driving mission of both our institutions, and interpreting the Bayeux Tapestry from an artistic as well as historical perspective can bring a little-known but significant story to life for people throughout north Georgia," Kyle said. "We hope the week-long exhibit here at the History Center is only the first step in setting the model of display and interpretation to reach wider audiences on a continual basis."

Two full-size, stitched versions of the Bayeux Tapestry have been completed, one in England and one in Canada; since 2000, a Danish group has been working on a third. A half-scale, mosaic version on display in New Zealand took 20 years and 1.5 million pieces of steel to complete. Various modern artists have replicated panels of the Bayeux Tapestry.

The history center event marks only the second time the replica, which is nearly the length of a football field, has been on public display since UNG acquired it. The university eventually plans to put the Bayeux replica on permanent display.

For more info about the upcoming exhibit, call the history center at 770-297-5900 or visit

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