The initial work included repairs, re-roofing, glazing, insulation, and the installation of solar panels to make the museum more sustainable and protect its historic buildings for the future.
Poole Museum is undergoing a £7.7m redevelopment with grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zone alongside contributions from many other organisations.
The project aims to transform Poole Museum into an outstanding cultural centre and a modern, thriving community hub, greatly enriching the experience of Poole Quay and the Old Town.
Phase two work includes urgent conservation and restoration alongside remodelling of all three of the museum’s historic buildings, plus the creation of new displays and visitor facilities.
Other changes include moving the museum café to the ground floor of Scaplen’s Court, part of Poole Museum, where there will also be a larger public events space for weddings and events.
Building works will be completed in summer 2024 ahead the redevelopment of the museum’s three new maritime galleries, new ceramics gallery, and temporary exhibition gallery.
Cllr Andy Martin, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Communications, and Culture, BCP Council said: “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform Poole Museum.
“We are conserving and breathing life into much loved local buildings restoring their historic character and providing welcoming and accessible cultural spaces that will enrich the Lower High Street and Poole Quay for residents and visitors alike.”
Stuart McLeod, Director of England, London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It’s brilliant to hear that this transformational project for Poole Museum has begun.
“This redevelopment will bring a new lease of life to the Museum, making it more accessible and conserving the building and its collections. The benefit of this investment will be felt widely across Poole and Dorset – boosting the economy and offering a place for locals and tourists alike to connect with its remarkable maritime heritage.”
Greendale Construction Limited have been appointed as the main contractors on a £3.2m contract to redevelop Poole Museum. Chris Cave, Commercial Director, Greendale Construction said: “A major focus of the project is making the museum accessible for all, with new ground floor accessible WCs, level access and new lifts including one in Scaplen’s Court for the first time.”
Rebecca Barrett, Southwest Regional Director at Historic England, said: “It’s exciting that work has started on the transformation of Scaplen’s Cour which, as part of Poole Museum, is at the heart of the cultural life of the town. We’re proud to support this project through the High Street Heritage Action Zone.”
With the museum closed for building works, staff and volunteers have taken to the road with ‘Museum on the Move’.
This initiative is a programme of activities, events, and taster sessions taking Poole’s unique stories and heritage out into the local community to schools, libraries, other cultural hubs. Museum on the Move is supported by Poole Museum Foundation, the charity set up to support the museum.
The museum is expected to open in Spring 2025.
The redevelopment of Poole Museum is funded by: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone, BCP Council, UK Government Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, The Fine Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, Talbot Village Trust, The Headley Trust, The Steel Charitable Trust, Pilgrim Trust, Poole Museum Foundation, The Valentine Charitable Trust, Alice Ellen Cooper-Dean Charitable Foundation, Wessex Museums, Poole BID and The Arts Society of Poole.