It has been announced that Dorset County Museum will receive over £11 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, one of the largest grants the county has ever seen. The planned extension and redevelopment plans for the Museum will provide an exciting new opportunity for many of the brilliant objects in storage to be displayed. Indeed, from the four million items in the Museum’s collection, only 1.5% are currently exhibited.
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.
Highly regarded creative team Real Studios Ltd has been appointed as exhibition designers for the new galleries in Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset. Real Studios is renowned for a pioneering interpretive approach, having worked on such diverse high profile commissions as The Lapworth Museum of Geology at University of Birmingham (as pictured above), The Staffordshire Hoard at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, David Bowie Is at the V & A, and Celtic Art and Design at the British Museum.
Work has started on moving some of the museum’s collection to the Old School in Grey School Passage. Purchased in March, the building will provide both temporary and long-term space for storage of collections.
As well as being needed during the redevelopment phase, the Old School offers a nearby offsite facility for the longer term, and additional space for researchers to access deep storage.
The Tomorrow’s Museum project team has received the thumbs up at its mid-point review with the Heritage Lottery Fund. The team updated HLF with the latest concept designs and costings, and on plans for an exciting programme of public engagement activity, developed in consultation with the community. Read more
Our new Natural Dorset gallery will give visitors the opportunity to discover over 200 million years of Dorset’s natural history and will allow our Natural History collection to go back on display after a period of almost 20 years in storage. This collection has not been researched for some time, and we are busy looking into many of the objects and specimens and uncovering their stories. One such item is the skull and cervical vertebrate of a bottle-nosed whale which was given to the Museum in 1894.
On the evening of Tuesday 9th August, the Museum welcomed members of the public to have their say on the latest outline plans for the Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset project. The Victorian Hall was bustling with members of the community eager to discuss how their Museum will look upon opening in 2020, and to talk to the project team about the process.
Introducing the team behind the Museum’s ambitious transformation project
Max Hebditch CBE is a Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society trustee and the emeritus Director of the Museum of London. He has also been a trustee of the Museum of London Docklands, former past president of the Museums Association, Chair of the UK Committee of the International Council of Museums and Honorary Curator of Lyme Regis Museum.