Dorset County Museum management and visitors celebrated earlier this month to receive approval of their latest project. Plans had been in the works for years to upgrade arguably the county’s most important museum. Now, the Grade I listed building which houses important local collections will realise the important work and see the project come to fruition. The lottery money for Dorset museum located in Dorchester will go towards the upgrade plan known as Tomorrow’s Museum – Making Dorset Proud. For years, curators felt the building was not large enough to display some of the important finds. It also needs to upgrade to adapt to changing visitor demands on the museum experience.
How to Spend The Lottery Money for Dorset Museum?
Dorset County Museum submitted plans in January. HLF approved the grant in October. The money will go towards building an extension for the existing building and contain:
- New galleries to display some items never seen before. The museum holds over 4 million artefacts
- A learning centre and library to engage educational visitors and attract school groups
- Cafe and shop to keep up with modern design trends and the desire to spend more time at a museum
The construction schedule will demolish several unlisted buildings in the vicinity to make way for the extension. The £11.3m lottery money for Dorset Museum will bring the fund closer to the £15m needed to complete the project. The remainder of the funds is expected to come from local sources such as visitor donations. The unveiling of the extension is scheduled for 2020, turning it into a “world class contemporary museum”. It already displays fossils from along the Jurassic Coast and items in a Thomas Hardy collection. The extension will help to expand displays which is currently 1.5% of the collection.