AMBITIOUS extension and redevelopment plans for a Dorchester project worth £15 million have been given the green light.
The agreement is a major step forward for Dorset County Museum and its plans to transform the building and its facilities. The ‘Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset’ development aims to include new galleries, state-of-the-art storage facilities, a new learning centre and a new shop and café. The plans were given the go ahead by West Dorset District Council, where councillors had previously agreed to a £150,000 grant towards the museum’s project.
Hidden behind the museum’s 19th century façade lie almost four million artefacts, charting the natural, archaeological, cultural and social history of Dorset. Regrettably, many of these hidden gems have remained just that, hidden from view and unable to tell their story. But with £13 million of the £15 million target already pledged, these hidden gems will once again see the light of day, helping to illustrate, educate and inform residents and visitors of Dorset’s unique history.
Dr Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the relevant authorities have recognised the importance and significance of the project to the local community and to the county. “We can now look forward to realising our ambition to provide Dorset with the appropriate facilities in which to properly conserve, display and make accessible, our wonderful collection.” In recognition of the museum’s unique collections and its role in furthering the knowledge of palaeontology, staff will be welcoming its largest and oldest visitor in February 2018.
Dippy, the famous diplodocus skeleton replica from the National History Museum is embarking on national tour with Dorchester being his first stop. When he was roaming the Earth, Dippy measured almost 30metres in length and weighed an incredible 15 tonnes. Once installed in the museum’s magnificent Victorian gallery there will be just inches to spare. Dr Murden added: “Dippy’s visit is a once in generation opportunity and as such we’re expecting a huge demand for tickets.”