The future for Weymouth Museum looks very bright thanks to initial support for a National Lottery grant.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £76,200 to the Museum towards developing proposals for the development of the museum. An application will then be made for a confirmed £450,000 National Lottery grant.
The bid comes at an excellent time as last month Versant Developments were granted planning permission to develop Brewers Quay with a special area set aside for the Museum. Marcia Headon, Chair of the Museum Trustees said ‘We are absolutely delighted with the outcome and this opens up a whole new chapter for the museum. The work at Brewers Quay is due to start this month and this dovetails well with our plans’.
She said that the plans are to provide a first-class, exciting facility that will enable the telling of the story of Weymouth through objects and stories in the collection, many of which are currently stored and not accessible. The new museum will explore the enduring relationship between Weymouth and the sea in its many forms and through many centuries. The Museum will create narratives of the many people who have either lived in the local area or have made an impact in some way, updating this storytelling to recent times and events.
Marcia said: ‘We want to provide displays, interpretation, interactives, activities and sensory experiences that are fun and informative and appeal to a wide range of people’.
One of our immediate priorities is to widen our Trustee base and we are currently advertising for three new Trustees who have experience either of working in the museums and heritage sector; experience of fundraising or marketing skills; or experience of developing and managing volunteer teams. Details of the adverts can be found at the Museum website.
David Riches, Museum Collections Manager, said: ‘In recent years we have only been able to display a very small part of the collection, in a traditional but rather un-inspiring way. There are some fantastic items in store, including both the bathing machine used by King George III and his bath from Gloucester Lodge. There is also the magnificent painting of the king on horseback. Amongst the stories we will be able to tell in an exciting, enthralling way will be that of his visits to Weymouth between 1789 and 1805.
Even so there will not be space in the galleries to display all of the collection so we will also make the stores accessible to the public on special open days so that even more of the collection can be seen, together with some of the brewery equipment that is still installed there. After many years of make do and mend I am really looking forward to this development supported by the National Lottery.’