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 Spring 2024. This award, made possible by National Lottery players, represents a significant part of the total project budget of £4.37 million.
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 are all 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, generally 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 and exciting hands-on workshops for school children.
The support of BCP Council has been paramount and the Our Museum project is a live, dynamic part of The Big Plan for whole conurbation to rejuvenate historic Poole. While further financial support has already been secured from a number of local and national charitable trusts and foundations, Poole Museum Foundation will continue to work with the Museum teams in the fundraising efforts to reach the final targets.
Michael Spender, Head of Culture, adds, "The grant will help us significantly expand and update our public spaces and facilities in Poole Museum...providing a museum fit for the 2020's. 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."
It is anticipated that the newly transformed accessible and inclusive museum will open in the first half of 2024.
The Our Museum Project progresses well with consultation on the RIBA Stage 3 design plans completed by our design team lead by architects, ZMMA, and these have been approved by the Our Museum Project Board.
Our Chair, Felicity Irwin, is a member of this Board on behalf of PMF. The exciting details of these plans have been included in the Round 2 National Lottery Heritage Fund [NLHF] bid application that has been submitted by the Our Museum Project Team and the application included an Activity Plan, Interpretation Plan and a detailed Maintenance & Management Plan. We are due a visit by NLHF in November and we will hear the results of our application in early December.
In the meantime, opening up works of the floors and walls of our heritage buildings has taken place to identify building materials by Greendale and an archaeologist also attended, finding a couple of very old oyster shells in the foundations!
Planning will be submitted for the Historic England funded works for Scaplen’s Court and research for fundraising sources for the Activity Programme during the museum closure will also continue in earnest.
The Our Museum Project team thank Felicity and Poole Museum Foundation for their ongoing support with the project.
Poole Museums’ National Lottery Heritage Funded project Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole's Maritime Heritage is underway! We are excited to have been awarded an initial grant of £352k (known as a 'Round One Pass') to develop our plans for the future of the museum. This is called our Development Phase and it will run until January 2022 when we will find out if we have been successful in securing a further £2.2m (a 'Round Two Pass') to deliver the project. The Project Committee, headed by Chris Saunders, meets regularly and is comprised of senior Museum staff, the project team, and PMF Chair Felicity Irwin.
This exciting project will mean we can carry out essential works to conserve the Wool Hall and work with communities to co-create a brand-new maritime gallery at Poole Museum. The project will be rooted in the history and heritage of Poole through engagement with Poole Museum’s buildings and collections. However, it will bring these assets to life in creative ways through collaboration with diverse local audiences. In fact, the project will be informed as much by the needs of the community as the collection and will aim to reflect the interests of its audience in its object choices, interpretation and exhibition design.
The Our Museum project team recently tested out a creative, collaborative approach to collections engagement, tied to the Writer in Residence program at Poole Museum. Resident Writer Adrian Harris led a socially distanced online workshop in creative writing in which 7 participants chose items from the Poole Museum collection and used these as inspiration for new short stories, poems or scripts. Each participant took a very different approach to storytelling - some basing their work purely in historic research, others in personal experience or pure imagination. The workshop also offered surprising insights into people’s engagement with museum collections, such as the sorts of objects chosen and the reasons these resonated. For example, of 15 possible objects, 4 separate people were inspired in part by the collections’ Lobster Pot and 3 by the medieval gold ring! As museum workers and exhibition-makers this sort of awareness seems invaluable - both in helping understand public engagement with collections and finding effective ways to display and interpret archival artefacts.
Our goal is to turn the making of Poole Museum inside out to engage and involve volunteers, residents, and the wider community. To do this, the Our Museum project will be full to the brim with exciting opportunities to get involved with workshops, talks and events. These activities will help us develop our new spaces as well as engage the community in new and fun ways. And we are working hard to find new and creative ways to develop our activity online and at a safe distance.
We're grateful as always to National Lottery players, Poole Museum Society, BCP Council and, of course, our wonderful members (that’s you!) for their support of the Our Museum project.
Animation of initial design ideas produced by students of the
National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University (2018)
BCP Council is pleased to announce that it has been awarded initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Poole Museum project, “Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole's Maritime Heritage”.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded initial support and development funding of £325,300. This will enable the museum to develop the project plans in more detail and apply for a full grant of £2.4 million in Spring/Summer 2021.
The £3.3 million project aims to create an inspiring cultural attraction for Poole, featuring cutting-edge digital interpretations and new public facilities which will transform the visitor experience. The National Lottery grant will enable conservation of an internationally important historic building, the display of Poole Museum’s unique collection of four ancient vessels, and the creation of stunning new spaces for local people and visitors to enjoy.
The museum will work with the community and the region’s universities to create the new spaces, which include a maritime gallery to share Poole’s remarkable maritime heritage. Stories of boatbuilding, fishing and merchant trades from local people will enrich the museum’s collections for future generations. The project will provide exciting new opportunities for learning and hands-on interaction.
Michael Spender, BCP Council Museum and Arts Manager, said: “Poole Museum’s audiences have doubled since our last redevelopment in 2007 and have outgrown our existing spaces and facilities. This project enables us to meet the growing demand and build on our success in a sustainable way. The National Lottery grant will also enable us to restore and reveal the magnificent Poole Wool Hall, one of the most important medieval port buildings in Europe.
Councillor Mark Howell, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture at BCP Council said: “This is very exciting news for Poole and a will be a celebration of our unique heritage. When the project is completed Poole Museum will be a flagship for regeneration in the area and the catalyst for development of a vibrant Quay quarter.”
Poole Museum Foundation will be raising match funding for the project.