Poole Museum has closed ahead of redevelopment work funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone.
The redevelopment, supported by BCP Council, will transform the museum and provide extensive new and updated community facilities.
Three new galleries will showcase Poole Museum’s maritime collections and are being ‘co-created’ with residents. A new temporary exhibition gallery will bring major touring exhibitions to Poole.
The museum’s three historic buildings, Grade II listed Oakley’s Mill, and the Grade I listed medieval Wool Hall and Scaplen’s Court, will be restored and conserved while urgent repairs and maintenance are carried out. New spaces will be opened up to the public for the first time, including Scaplen’s Court and Garden which will be open to the public year-round as part of a visit to Poole Museum.
There will be a vibrant programme of creative, cultural activity for the local community and visitors as well as new educational workshops developed with local schools and teachers.
Better access is integral to plans which include putting in place a new, larger lift in Poole Museum plus the installation of an elevator in Scaplen’s Court, providing access to the upper floor of this building for the first time.
Cllr Beverley Dunlop, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Culture and Vibrant Places at BCP Council said: “With support from Poole Museum Foundation, Poole Museum will be ‘on the move’ during the work. We will be bringing our collections and stories out into the community while the museum is closed. We will visit local schools, community groups, parks, open air events, fun days and festivals. There’s lots of opportunities to get involved and find out more about your new museum – you can even take a look behind the scenes at what’s going on!”
Stuart McLeod, Director England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are proud to support Poole Museum on their redevelopment project. Thanks to National Lottery players, the museum will still be an integral part of this community throughout the project, helping local people better understand their heritage. We can’t wait to see the fantastic new space and programme that is created, which will also play a significant role in boosting the local economy and aiding the wider regeneration of Poole.”
Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England, said: “We’re delighted that, through the High Street Heritage Action Zone, we are supporting the regeneration of Poole Museum’s historic buildings. Their transformation and the development of exciting new facilities, displays and activities will play a major part in the town’s regeneration. We can’t wait to see the results.”
The first phase of the redevelopment, including major re-roofing and glazing works, installation of solar panels, insulation of roofs and walls and external repairs will finish in March 2023. The sustainability improvements will reduce the carbon footprint of the museum by 25 per cent.
Poole Museum’s galleries closed to the public on 31 December 2022. The Tourist Information Centre and museum shop remain open in the front atrium of the museum until 31 March 2023.
Poole Museum is scheduled to reopen after the redevelopment towards the end of 2024.