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Published on Wednesday 08 May 2024

Internal renovation works in Oakley’s Mill - Photo credit to Matthew Andrews 2024
Internal renovation works underway in Oakley’s Mill in readiness for new exhibition galleries - Photo credit: Matthew Andrews 2024

Poole Museum has been awarded £450,000 from Arts Council England for new exhibition galleries as well as improvements to digital infrastructure, accessibility, and sustainability.

Poole Museum is one of ten organisations in the south west to be supported with this investment from Arts Council England.

Owned and operated by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council, the museum is currently closed for a £7.7 million redevelopment which includes the conservation, restoration, and remodelling of all three of the museum’s listed buildings supported with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

This Arts Council England investment at the museum is supporting a new, larger temporary exhibition gallery that will be one of a string of significant galleries showing contemporary art along the South coast.

An ambitious programme of first-rate exhibitions from national museums, collections, and artists will build on the museum’s reputation for high-quality exhibitions. The very successful ‘Lines of Thought’ in 2016, in partnership with the British Museum, drew around 53,000 visitors to the museum over three months.

Poole Museum’s collection of Poole Pottery is the largest and best public collection in the world.

A new ceramics and design gallery, including a creative studio and workspace, will showcase and open-up this collection, collaborating with local artists and makers through changing displays and a vibrant programme of activity for all.

Improvements will also include new accessible toilets and new LED lighting throughout the new spaces with new digital displays throughout the museum, providing opportunities for greater flexibility and increased engagement.

Cllr Andy Martin, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Communications, and Culture said:

“With investment from Arts Council England, our remodelled and improved galleries and spaces represent a significant cultural opportunity for the local area.

“We are committed to first-rate, ambitious, and inclusive programming that will see Poole Museum thrive as an outstanding cultural venue and be more sustainable and resilient in the future. There will be much more on offer for everyone ensuring many, many more people can take part and be creative.”

Phil Gibby, South West Area Director, Arts Council England, said:

“We are thrilled to be investing over £2.7 million in ten organisations throughout the south west. Through our Capital Investment Programme, we’re helping the cultural sector upgrade its infrastructure and seize new opportunities.

“It's not just bricks and mortar - with better buildings comes improved accessibility, new technology and a reduced environmental footprint. Whether it's a portable big top on the Isle of Wight, a carnival centre in Bridgwater, or affordable art studios in Gosport – we’re unlocking creative potential all over the region.

“Post-pandemic this public funding matters more than ever to staff, volunteers and visitors. We can't wait to see plans take shape.”

The museum is expected to open in Spring 2025.


Notes to Editors

About Poole Museum

The museum is located in the heart of The Old Town and by Poole Quay. The Museum comprises the Grade II listed Oakley’s Mill a Victorian grain mill and warehouse, the Grade I listed medieval Wool Hall, Grade I listed Scaplen’s Court and Sir Anthony Caro’s impressive quayside Sea Music sculpture.

Collection highlights include a unique Iron Age log boat, internationally significant artefacts from 16th and 17th Century Shipwrecks, the world’s finest public collection of Poole Pottery and a fine art collection of local artists including Augustus John and Henry Lamb.

The redevelopment of Poole Museum is funded by: Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England High Street Heritage Action Zone and 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 Poole Arts Society.

Greendale Construction Limited are the main contractors appointed to redevelop Poole Museum.

Poole Museum is one of the most popular free museums in the South of England.

Social media @PooleMuseum Find out more about Poole Museum here.

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £467 million of public money from Government and an estimated £250 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. Find out more about Arts Council England here.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future as set out in our strategic plan, Heritage 2033 here.

Over the next ten years, we aim to invest £3.6billion raised for good causes by National Lottery players to bring about benefits for people, places and the natural environment.

We help protect, transform and share the things from the past that people care about, from popular museums and historic places, our natural environment and fragile species, to the languages and cultural traditions that celebrate who we are.

We are passionate about heritage and committed to driving innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference to people’s lives today, while leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

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