Following a two-year major refurbishment Weston Museum is set for a Grand Opening on Saturday 26th August after the £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund and Town Council investment.
Although Weston has had a museum since 1863, exhibits only moved into the current premises in Burlington Street 42 years ago when the former Gas Light Company Stores became vacant. More recently Weston Town Council took responsibility for the service and quickly realised the need for major refurbishment.
Malcolm Nicholson, Town Clerk said: ‘Since 2014 the museum has been closed and with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Arts Council England, Coastal Revival Fund and others the museum has been transformed into a new, modern and engaging facility telling the story of how Weston-super-Mare grew from a fishing village to a Victorian seaside resort, and how the surrounding area has evolved’.
On Saturday 26th August, the museum will rewind the clock back to 19th Century Weston in a Grand Reopening Victorian Family Fun Day. Five hours of celebrations will include stilt walking, acrobats, a penny-farthing as well as face painting, circus skills, story-telling, traditional games and live music. Visitors might even catch a glimpse of William Mable, the man who opened the first museum back in 1863.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, Chairman of the Museum & Heritage Sub Committee said: ‘This will be the culmination of several years hard work. We’ll be opening a museum of regional significance with first-class displays and a brand-new secure art gallery. It will add enormously to Weston’s regeneration and growing self-confidence.’
Nick Melling, Visitor Services Manager, said: ‘After two years of closure our Victorian Family Day reopening will be a fitting reminder of William Mable’s vision a century-and-a-half ago when he established our first museum in the former Albert Memorial Hall next to Emmanuel Church. The museum will be a wonderful asset to both town and region.’ He emphasised that ‘community will be at the heart of our new museum and volunteers will be key to a successful operation’.
The free-entry museum will be open 7 days week 10am – 5pm (closed 25-28 December, New Year’s Day and 15-21 January).