The result of an ongoing partnership between Downside Abbey and Dr Benjamin Pohl of Bristol University is the online exhibition ‘History and Community.’ The exhibition is the final stage in Dr Pohl’s British Academy funded project ‘History for the Community: Monk-historians and Communal Heritage’. Dr Pohl’s project showcases Benedictine monasteries as centres of history where historical knowledge has been collected and cultivated for centuries. You can learn more about the project and its associated activities and events on the Project Blog, as well as on its dedicated Twitter feed.

To visit the exhibition website click here

Featuring twenty carefully curated and thematically diverse exhibits, this exhibition presents a vibrant panorama of the Downside community’s historical and cultural heritage. Chosen from Downside’s own collections and including materials rarely or never displayed before, these fascinating artefacts together span over a thousand years and come from the British Isles, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Vatican, Russia and even Australia. Brought together within a single exhibition, they combine into a rich yet largely untapped repository of historical knowledge that connects monastic life at Downside with a wide range of times and places.

All exhibits were chosen and curated through close collaboration between Downside’s community and a team of academic researchers from the University of Bristol under the direction of Dr Benjamin Pohl, the project’s principal investigator. A core aim was to understand and showcase the different ways in which history reveals itself within Downside’s community, and to acknowledge that these histories matter for different reasons to different people. Exhibition visitors can therefore expect to discover embedded in each exhibit a multitude of (hi)stories that continue to shape the lives and identities of people both inside and outside the monastic community.

You can find out more about Downside Abbey’s Heritage Collections by clicking here