Thanks to a £2.24 million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Poole Museum will be transformed into an outstanding cultural centre and community hub by the Spring of 2024. This award, made possible by National Lottery players, represents a significant part of the total project budget of £4.37million.
The ‘Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole’s Maritime Heritage’ project is ambitious and far reaching. It will enable the conservation and restoration of the at-risk Grade I Wool Hall, making this medieval building accessible to the public and interpreting its extraordinary story. Three new galleries developed with the local community will showcase Poole’s significant maritime and pottery collections. New visitor facilities and better access for all are integral to the plans. The project will transform and refresh Poole Museum enabling it to continue to thrive and appeal to a wider audience. The transformed museum will be at the heart of Poole’s Quay Quarter, greatly enriching the experience of Poole Quay and The Old Town for visitors and the community alike.
Work on the project will start in early 2022 with the museum expected to close at the end of the year for building and structural work. During this period the museum will take to the road, bringing Poole’s unique stories and heritage to the local community through a vibrant programme of outreach and events, including an oral history project, which will collect personal stories from Poole’s population to feature in the new galleries. The museum team will also work with teachers to develop exciting new hands-on workshops for children.
The support of BCP Council has been paramount and the Our Museum project is a live, dynamic part of The Big Plan for the whole conurbation. One strand of this is to rejuvenate historic Poole, delivering a sustainable mix of culture, hospitality, and business to the Old Town, Poole Quay, and its surrounding areas.
Councillor Beverley Dunlop, Cabinet Member for Culture and Vibrant Places, comments, “We are overjoyed that the outstanding Poole Museum has been awarded this fantastic amount of funding to help finance this important cultural project. I would like to say a huge thank you to the community, the project and museum team, and everyone else who has committed to making this happen. It is their dedication, passion and hard work that has resulted in this grant funding. The further development of Poole Museum is a significant project in the transformation of the Quay and Lower High Street as a flourishing and vibrant historical waterfront that reflects our ambitious vision for Poole."
While further financial support has already been secured from a number of local and national charitable trusts and foundations, the Poole Museum Foundation will continue to work alongside the Museum teams in the fundraising effort to reach the final targets.
Michael Spender, Head of Culture, BCP Council, adds, “We are so grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This grant will help us to significantly expand and update the public spaces and facilities in Poole Museum, and to properly show our internationally important maritime and pottery collections, providing a museum experience fit for the 2020s. With around 200,000 annual visitors Poole Museum is one of the most popular museums in the region, and with a larger, more accessible and inclusive offering we look forward to welcoming many new visitors.”
Stuart McLeod, Director London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says, “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are delighted to support these exciting plans for Poole Museum. As well as enabling restoration work for the at-risk Grade I Listed Wool Hall, the project will connect communities to their heritage by adding personal perspectives to the collections and opening up the museum’s stories for even more people to enjoy.”
It is anticipated that the newly transformed accessible and inclusive museum will open in the first half of 2024.