Museum Galleries – Design Update

In 2015 Weston Museum was awarded over a million pounds by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to completely refurbish and modernise the hugely popular Burlington Street attraction. Further funding successes have come from a couple of local foundations and the recent success with the Coastal Revival application has secured the display cases for the Temporary Exhibition Gallery. Officers of the Town Council are continuing the search for other funding possibilities and are offering sponsorship opportunities for the local communities and business to play their part in support of Weston Museum.

From the outset, the Museum Working Party has been determined to maintain the unique ambience of the Courtyard and to make greater significance of the building’s history. The bulky 1970s staircase will be replaced by modern stairs, a new lift and two eye-catching bridges, ensuring accessibility for all throughout the entire building. Completely new exhibition galleries will be created with a more stimulating display of artefacts aided by interactive devices and hands-on technology. Hitherto unseen rooms will be brought into service allowing much more of the vast collection to be seen by visitors and a specially created secure gallery will allow high-security regional and national exhibitions to take place. There will be education and community meeting facilities and new shop and cafe outlets.

Flushed with success but refusing to rest on its laurels, the Town Council is even now looking at further phases of museum development. A currently inaccessible second courtyard which contains an original 1860s mews cottage façade is earmarked for a phase two project and even though the ever-popular Clara’s Cottage will still be a feature of the museum it will be re-vamped in a phase three operation.

The Museum Working Party and the South West Heritage Trust have been working alongside Imagemakers, the appointed designers, on the look, feel and collection base content for the new gallery space. All the new designs and layouts have now been approved and work will soon start on the production of the new cases. The layout runs in chronological order starting from Pre-history in the landscape gallery through to the medieval period, crossing the landing to the art focussed ‘changing tides’ gallery which tells the story of Weston’s development, then on into seaside,which starts just before the trains arrived in Weston through to modern day.

Landscape view 2

Gallery Images :- Landscape and art galleries. Images are an artistic interpretation supplied by Imagemakers, the appointed exhibition designers.

Gallery 2 view 1

 

The flatner will remain in the museum, but will be moved from the current Natural History section to where the seaside gallery used to be. It will bring in the story of Weston’s coast line and how it played an important role in the town’s development.

Malcolm Nicholson, Town Clerk said “the museum project is progressing well, thanks to the hard work of the team, councillors and our partners, and the project is on track for reopening the museum as planned in 2017.”

Although the museum is closed for refurbishment, its service is still available to the community. You may well see the museum out and about at community events with their pop up museum or at a school piloting one of the lesson plans currently being developed, or at a local nursing home with a reminiscence activity. There are also plenty of ways the community can become involved through volunteering or joining the Friends of Weston Museum to help develop and support these activities.

For further information, please contact Katherine Bell on 01934 621028 or email Katherine.bell@wsm-tc.gov.uk or contact Weston-super-Mare Town Council by telephone 01934 632567 or email zoe.clements@wsm-tc.gov.uk.

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