Poole Museum is to be transformed.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the museum a grant of £2.24 million which will enable it to become an outstanding cultural centre and community hub by the spring of 2024.
The ‘Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole’s Maritime Heritage’ project, which will cost £4.37 million, will enable the conservation and restoration of the at-risk Grade I Wool Hall, making this medieval building accessible to the public and interpreting its extraordinary story. Three new galleries developed with the local community will showcase Poole’s significant maritime and pottery collections. New visitor facilities and better access for all are integral to the plans.
Work on the project will start early this year with the museum expected to close at the end of the year for building and structural work. During this period the museum will take to the road, bringing Poole’s unique stories and heritage to the local community through a programme of outreach and events, including an oral history project, which will collect personal stories from Poole’s population to feature in the new galleries. The museum team will also work with teachers to develop new hands-on workshops for children.
Cllr Beverley Dunlop, BCP Council’s cabinet member for Culture and Vibrant Places, said: “We are overjoyed that the outstanding Poole Museum has been awarded this fantastic amount of funding to help finance this important cultural project. I would like to say a huge thank you to the community, the project and museum team, and everyone else who has committed to making this happen. It is their dedication, passion and hard work that have resulted in this grant funding. The further development of Poole Museum is a significant project in the transformation of the Quay and Lower High Street as a flourishing and vibrant historical waterfront that reflects our ambitious vision for Poole.”
While further financial support has already been secured from a number of local and national charitable trusts and foundations, the Poole Museum Foundation will continue to work alongside the museum teams in the fundraising effort to reach the final targets.
Michael Spender, head of culture, BCP Council, said: “We are so grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This grant will help us to significantly expand and update the public spaces and facilities in Poole Museum, and to properly show our internationally important maritime and pottery collections, providing a museum experience fit for the 2020s. With around 200,000 annual visitors Poole Museum is one of the most popular museums in the region, and with a larger, more accessible and inclusive offering we look forward to welcoming many new visitors.”
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