Poole Museum Shares Transformation Proposals

Poole Museum is set to unveil exciting proposals for a major transformation thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

Poole Museum was granted round one development funding of £352,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress plans. In April cabinet will be asked to consider approving submission of these detailed proposals for second round funding – seeking a full funding award of £2.2m. Subject to cabinet approving the go ahead, a final decision would be made by The National Lottery Heritage Fund by the end of the year.

Funding has also been awarded by Historic England as part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone funding for Poole High Street.

A refreshed, modern offering will see the popular Poole Museum and Scaplen’s Court continue to thrive and appeal to a wider audience. Positioned as part of the quayside offering, it will be both a heritage attraction and a community hub in the ‘Quay Quarter’, playing a part in the bigger picture supporting the rejuvenation of the Lower High Street and Quay. Poole Museum’s important historic buildings will be conserved and new spaces opened-up to the public for the first time. New visitor facilities and better access will be integral to the plans.

One new addition will be the Fine Foundation Gallery; a new space hosting temporary exhibitions, supported by a donation of £100,000 from the Fine Family Foundation. This will offer state-of-the-art facilities attracting national touring exhibitions. In 2016, ‘Lines of Thought: drawing from Michelangelo to now’, attracted 53,000 visitors in just two months.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Tourism Leisure and Culture said:

“Consultation shows that people want to see Poole’s unique heritage conserved and celebrated. They also want to see a modern and digital approach. Visitors are also keen to have more touring exhibitions coming to Poole. Subject to final approval, we’ll be able to progress this exciting transformation here in Poole for the benefit of both local people and visitors to our beautiful historic area. These changes for Poole Museum will sit us strongly on the cultural map.

“The proposals are set to see Poole Museum and Scaplen’s Court not only transforming the local cultural offering but adding to the regeneration of Poole. Having a modern and popular attraction in the heart of Poole showcases our rich local heritage, adding an uplift to the town and will help rejuvenate and enrich this special location.”

Stuart McLeod, Director London and South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support Poole Museum, one of the most popular and beloved cultural organisations in the South West. Thanks to National Lottery players, the grant will ensure Poole’s remarkable maritime heritage is preserved for many years to come, its accessibility improved to host a wider, more diverse range of audiences and its local community engaged through an ambitious programme of transformation.”

Ross Simmonds, Regional Director for the South West at Historic England, said: “Poole Museum is a well-known and valued cultural attraction, but Scaplen’s Court - an outstanding example of a late medieval merchant’s house - is very under-used. Once sensitively renovated and opened up, it will offer a great deal to residents and visitors alike – from educating future generations about Poole’s unique heritage to bringing communities together. The museum is an important part of Poole’s high street and wider regeneration plans, and its future potential to benefit the town is recognised.”

The museum is expected to host the Thomas Hardy exhibition in 2022 before closing for improvement works and reopening for Easter 2024.

Plans will be unveiled during an online public event on 26 March at 7pm hosted by the Museum Team. An online survey will also go live on this date. To find out more, register for a place at our online event and to take part in the survey (from 26 March) visit https://haveyoursay.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/poole-museum