New Stonehenge exhibition to tell the story of monument as a tourist attraction

'Wish You Were Here!' opens on 1 May 2015 within Stonehenge visitor centre

Objects on display include the first ever guidebook, printed in 1823

Historic postcards of Stonehenge on display in the Stonehenge Visitor Centre as part of the new 'Wish You Were Here' exibition

A new exhibition at Stonehenge opening on 1 May will look at another side of the famous stone circle - its history as a tourist attraction - with an array of fascinating objects from the past few centuries on display.

Highlights of the exhibition include the very first Stonehenge guidebook, printed in 1823, the iconic Spinal Tap shaped LP, and an array of memorabilia ranging from a Great Trilithon-shaped toasting fork to postcards through the decades.

Stonehenge may have been considered a tourist attraction as early as the Roman period, and medieval people certainly visited the site - describing it as one of the wonders of the world. The Wish You Were Here! exhibition begins with Stonehenge in Victorian times and traces its development through war and peace and the post-war years, both as a tourist attraction and global icon.

Though an isolated ruin in the 19th Century, the ancient monument saw enough visitors to warrant the production of the first guide books and souvenirs. The 20th Century saw an admission charge introduced in 1901 to address the cost of increasing amounts of damage and to help pay for a police constable.

Postcards went on sale in the early 1900s and from that point on, cards in sepia, lurid 'tints', black and white, and full colour document the changing face of Stonehenge and its surroundings. From the 1970s onwards, the growing international recognition of Stonehenge saw the iconic stone circle spawn an eclectic range of art, music and popular culture.

The first guidebook to Stonehenge, printed in 1823, on display in the new exhibition 'Wish You Were Here'

Curator and archaeologist Julian Richards said "Anyone visiting Stonehenge today is part of a long tradition. I am fascinated by how Stonehenge has been experienced by visitors over the years and the way in which it has been used as an inspiration for art and music. I have been collecting 'Stonehengiana' for years, and I am delighted that the collection is now to appear at its natural home. There are things here that I hope will make visitors smile. Welcome to the wonderful world of Stonehenge!"

Stonehenge General Manager Kate Davies said "We are very excited to launch Wish You Were Here! and tell the more recent history of Stonehenge - as the place visitors have long been inspired by. We want today's visitors to take away a real sense of fun from this exhibition and hope that they are inspired to share their experiences - whether by traditional postcard or by social media."

Wish You Were Here! will open at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre on 1 May 2015 and will run until March 2016. Admission is included in the entry price for Stonehenge. Visitors are invited to share their experiences on social media with the hashtag #stonehengewishyouwerehere.

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