It’s been a busy year at the National Horse Racing Museum, filled with exciting events and exhibitions for visitors and locals alike.

During summer, we hosted one of Britain’s must-see exhibitions, Urban Frame: Mutiny In Colour. More than 300 works by leading contemporary artists, including Damien Hurst, Tracey Emin, and Blek le Rat, went on display at our museum, Moyse’s Hall in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill Arts Centre. The thought-provoking selection of work was put together by the art collector John Brandler of Brandler Galleries.

Banksy's Love is in the AirBut the star of the show was Banksy, with works including the first unveiling in Britain of his famous image Love Is In The Air and, in a world exclusive, The 7: Banksy Under Siege. Seven poignant images of works made by the British street artist in war-torn Ukraine were shown for the first time at our museum.

These extraordinary exhibitions inspired the people of Newmarket to express their artistic side, too. A complementary creative initiative, ‘Newmarket In Colour’, commissioned a number of striking murals to bring colour to public spaces around town, created by professional artists with local schoolchildren and community groups at free art and craft sessions in venues including the museum.

We also welcomed the Band of the Household Cavalry to the courtyard for a rousing live concert to mark the launch of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment: The Coronation Year Exhibition. This astonishing collection of work by the photographic artist Ripley featured 12 large-scale portraits of soldiers from The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals on horseback posing on the rooftops of buildings in London from Canary Wharf to Trafalgar Square. The spotlight was also cast on the late British artist Lucy Kemp-Welch with a retrospective of her paintings, including works that illustrated Anna Sewell’s famous tale Black Beauty.

The museum was also proud to become the official home of the Racing With Pride collection and archives in 2023. These exhibits tell the story of the network for the sport’s LGBT+ community and its allies, which was established in 2020 by Dr David Letts and the Diversity in Racing Steering Group. Work also started on our Black History Month project where we welcomed silks worn by trailblazing jockeys, Khadijah Mellah and Ashleigh Wicheard into the museum for a temporary display.

Plus, the museum’s new Hall of Fame officially opened with the induction of Sir Michael Stoute and Sea the Stars, followed by the mighty Stradivarius.

Beyond our gallery spaces, we hosted a range of fun events such as our Great Days Out for Horse Lovers, with the ever-popular Suffolk Punches demonstrating in the Peter O’Sullevan Arena. At Halloween, a headless horseman and magical owls haunted our corridors, while a festive horse and trap gave memorable rides around the museum grounds and the celebrity Shetland Pony Jack Brock made an appearance at our Christmas celebration in December.

We continued our vital work with local schools throughout the year and launched our Creative Community Art Club aimed at helping adults develop creative self-care and sleep routines. Along with our continued Little Horseshoes play sessions for the under 5 years. We threw open our doors for the Henry Cecil Open Weekend for a special insight into the home of horseracing, and invited prospective volunteers to find out more about roles available during The Big Help Out.

We also took part in The Wild Escape, the largest ever collaboration between UK museums, encouraging children to find a favourite animal and create an artwork imagining its journey to a natural habitat.

Queen Camilla at the National Horseracing MuseumWe even had the honour of a Royal visit, when Her Majesty, Queen Camilla, came to Palace House to meet the Chair of the British Sporting Arts Trust to  unveil The Belvoir Huntsman, a painting by internationally renowned painter and artist Charles Church.

Phew, that was quite a year! What are we planning for 2024? Watch this space ….

Recent news