Update on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project

Finally we can share with you some of the updates on our Heritage Lottery Fund Project and the redevelopment of the Museum!

A lot has been going on behind the scenes with the Museum project. Although the building work is yet to begin there are some very exciting updates that we wanted to share with you.

Before the building work can start all the plans and designs for the building, provided by Hawkins Brown, have to be finalised. One of the key missions of this project is to make the museum and its collection accessible to all and this is something that we have been working on with the architects.

The team and people involved with the project have been very excited to see the developments of the plans and it is fantastic for us to finally be able to share with you some of the updated plans and some proposed images of how the museum is going to look when we reopen!

Entrance to the Museum
Part of the project is the plan to reopen the original entrance on Sun Street. In this image you can see what would have been the original front door to the house and this will become the new main entrance to the museum.

Image showing the original entrance to the house that is now the museum

Tudor Gallery
Another key area for the project is a chance to interpret the Tudor part of the building. The house itself has a fascinating history and the team are very keen to share and expose the story of the building.

tudor gallery

Community and Education Room
Along with new galleries and a new entrance the museum will have a dedicated community and education space. The room will be able to fit a class of 30 children making a better visitor experience for school groups but the space will have open arts and craft storage to allow for creativity but also be equipped for lectures, talks and presentations providing a fantastic new space for the museum.

activity room

The Core Gallery
As you may already be aware the redevelopment of the museum will allow for on-site collections storage and a new gallery ‘The Core Gallery’ this space will feature key objects from the collection and give visitors the opportunity to see behind the scenes into the stores, and people at work caring for the collection.

Core gallery

Art Stores
Along with the new on-site storage there will be the chance for visitors to see into the stores through glass viewing areas. This will include views of the picture stores which will be on a new racking system. This is great because the team will be able to showcase some of the fantastic pieces of art in the museum’s collection even when they aren’t on display.

art stores

We would love to hear what you think via Facebook, Twitter, comments on the blog or through the contact us links on the menu above. We will have more updates for you soon!

Heritage Lottery Fund Project Update – What did we find in our building survey

As part of the initial stages of the project the listed building that the Museum lives in had to be assessed. Working with listed building officers, surveyors, architects and structural engineers this involved discovering what was under the floors and behind the walls in the Museum.

So what did we find?

Below are some images of the main discoveries we have made so far!

Door to 39 Sun StreetMuseum Building

These images show the door to 39 Sun Street and an image of the Museum building from the street.

You can see where the doorway is on the outside of the building in the image of the street but who knew the door itself still existed inside the Museum! This would have been an Edwardian doorway which was plastered over in 1979/80 when the Museum was first established. It has been hidden behind the walls in the Museum shop and reception area all this time.

Lath Wall

Here you can see parts of the 18th century lath wall structure on the first floor of 37 Sun Street. This was a method of construction used before plasterboard. Internal partition walls and ceilings were lined with individual strips of timber lath and plastered over. The laths, about an inch wide, were made from split timber, and individually nailed to each ceiling joist or wall stud. Lathing a new house would use thousands of nails, each hammered in by hand.

Below is an image of one of our contractors. They carefully revealed the floor joists of the Grade 2 timber frame building for assessment. This joist is a hand sawn, reused piece of timber that seems to be contemporary with the 16th century building next door. It was reused in the floor construction in this part of the building in the 19th century.


The next stages include finalising plans and drawings ready for the building work to begin. Part of the new display will involve a better interpretation of the Museum building’s history and construction using some of the discoveries we have made in the process.