National Lottery funding success for museum extension project

(l-r) Museum Manager Alison Mills, Chairman of the Museum Development Trust Terry Green, North Devon Councillor Dick Jones and President of the Museum Development Trust, Keith Abraham

Posted on: 29 January 2016

An ambitious plan to extend the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon takes a significant step forward today, with news that the project will receive £69,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The funding, along with match-funding from the Museum Development Trust and existing museum budgets, will cover the costs of the development phase of a project to deliver a £1.8 million extension on the Long Bridge side of the building.

The proposed extension at the North Devon Council owned museum would provide a new, high quality exhibition space as well as improving educational facilities, the tea-room and shop.

The museum opened in 1989 and occupies the old North Devon Athenaeum building on Barnstaple Square, which was given to the town by Barnstaple’s great benefactor William Frederick Rock.

Executive member responsible for culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “What exciting news! We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. Many of the displays are over 20 years old and in need of updating and any improvements are currently limited by the lack of space. I will be watching the development of this project with interest and look forward to seeing the detailed plans to deliver an extension fit for the cultural needs of North Devon.”

Museum Manager, Alison Mills, says: “I’m thrilled that the HLF are supporting us and can’t wait to work with the Museum Development Trust to deliver a much-improved museum for Barnstaple. By creating extra space we will be able to display our 20th and 21st century collections for the first time, as well as refurbishing our current displays – it will completely transform our museum.”

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting the development of these exciting plans to extend the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will bring many more of the fascinating objects in the collection out on public display including the items that tell the social history of life in the area over the last 100 years. We look forward to seeing how the plans develop.”

Local ward member, Councillor Faye Webber, says: “I’m delighted that this project is moving forward and very grateful that the HLF has chosen to support the bid. The project will make room to expand and show some of the artefacts that have been hidden for some time.”

The development phase will see detailed plans and costings drawn up, to enable the museum to apply for further funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, North Devon Council, Central Government, and private donations, to deliver the project. If successful, the museum’s new extension could be open by the summer of 2018.

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