Let the Games Begin: New Olympic Exhibition to Open at Museum

A new exhibition to celebrate the Olympic Games and looking ahead to Paris 2024 opens at the River & Rowing Museum on 26 June.

The Games at Henley exhibition explores over a century of global competition and highlights both the 1908 and 1948 London Games, the people who made it possible, and the legacy the Games have had for the modern Olympians and Paralympians who call Henley home.

The town of Henley is known worldwide for its rowing heritage and is the only venue to host rowing at the Games twice, first in 1908 and then again in 1948. Despite a change in regulations which means that Henley will not host the rowing again, the area’s deep sporting roots remain with strong connections to the Games.

Visitors can explore incredible individual stories through a community of current and retired Olympians and Paralympians who represented Team GB in rowing, including Sir Steve Redgrave CBE, Naomi Riches MBE, Vicky Thornley, Alan Campbell, James Fox MBE. Interviews were conducted by local young people from The Langley Academy Trust who spoke to these athletes about why Henley is so important to the sport, and their lives.

You can also find out more about the world’s first Rowing Museum that was set up in Henley for the 1948 Games, a fitting precursor to the existing museum. Objects on display will include Sir Steve Redgrave’s historic five gold medals, souvenirs bought by spectators and a Relay torch from the 1948 Games.

Get into an athlete’s mindset training for Paris 2024, as visitors get the chance to try their hand at racing in the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium with an immersive rowing machine experience from ImersU.

This exhibition is not just a look back at the past but a celebration of the ongoing spirit of the Games and the community that supports it. Visit the River and Rowing Museum to witness the enduring legacy of the Games and feel the excitement build as we look towards the future of rowing in Paris 2024.

Steven O’Connor, Director of the River and Rowing Museum, said: “Henley is rightly known as the rowing capital of the UK, with deep-rooted connections to the Games. As we look ahead to Paris 2024, this exhibition will bring stories and objects to life, celebrating our rich heritage and inspiring future generations. It’s an opportunity to not only honour our past but also to ignite excitement for the future of rowing.”

The exhibition is open until 15 September.

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