The New World at the National Memorial Arboretum

The New World at the National Memorial Arboretum


Posted 2023-07-02 by Tony Collinsfollow
Visitors to a 'living' memorial in Staffordshire are being invited to immerse themselves in a free interactive experience suitable for families of all ages this summer. The National Memorial Arboretum , which sits within the National Forest at Alrewas, near Lichfield, is hosting ' The New World ' from 20 July to 1 September. The latest attraction at the 150-acre site has been created in collaboration with the immersive environments arts organisation, Wild Rumpus . The aim of the project is to introduce visitors to six distinct themed areas that encourage creative, physical, and reflective activity, drawing on the themes of journeys and travel, and encouraging people to contemplate the experience of exploring new places.

'The New World' seeks to draw inspiration from the natural surroundings of the National Memorial Arboretum and the powerful stories of service and sacrifice that are encapsulated within the many memorials and landscaping. Rachel Smith, Head of Participation and Learning at the Arboretum, said: "Our unique summer programme invites visitors to imagine themselves transported to a new and wonderful place, through the power of their own imagination. Each adventure around The New World will be as unique as those who have chosen to travel and will inspire reflection, understanding, and growth, promoting connection through play.”

A family explores the 150-acre Arboretum site

The six installations making up 'The New World' project are:
Dream Garden - Marvel at the weird and wonderful plants, before planting seeds to take home and gather hints and tips on how to create a dream garden at home.
Memory Maze - Recall and share playful memories and joyful moments to help this installation grow.
Playscape - Imagine and build a unique space to play.
Sanctuary – A space to sit and be, rest, reflect, and contemplate with fellow explorers.
Utopia – Explore bamboo structures and suggest slogans for the ‘signs of the times’ placards that frame this evolving space.

Families will be guided on their journey by the spin of a wheel, sending them on an unpredictable adventure around each installation. Visitors can create their own guide to ‘The New World’, starting from ‘The Oracle’, and then plotting their unique journey through ‘Dream Garden’, ‘Memory Maze’, ‘Playscape’, ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Utopia’, completing fun activities that will challenge their imagination along the way.

One of the many memorials at the Arboretum

Rowan Cannon, Director of Wild Rumpus, said: “Created using recycled and repurposed material, ‘The New World’ has been designed to provide a new way to experience and celebrate the Arboretum. Working together with the Arboretum team, we take families on an immersive technicolour journey, encouraging them to explore wondrous lands, discovering new worlds as they move through individual playscapes using the power of their imagination.”

Visitors can journey through ‘The New World’ daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry into the Arboretum is free, but there is a charge for parking, Advance booking is recommended to guarantee entry and also save on parking. The National Memorial Arboretum is the nation’s year-round place to remember. Since it opened to the public in 2001, it has grown into an inspirational living landscape. The Arboretum is part of the Royal British Legion and has approximately 25,000 maturing trees and more than 400 memorials.
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