POOLE MUSEUM IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED - FIND US AT 'MUSEUM ON THE MOVE' EVENTS NEAR YOU!
Phase one of the Our Museum Project - Poole Museum has now successfully completed and has contributed to a 25% reduction in the Museum’s carbon footprint.
We closed the Museum’s doors to the public at the end of 2022 to prepare for phase two. A major task for us was the ‘decant’ of the museum. Each of our three buildings had to be completely emptied. This included all our artefacts, books, archives, furniture, filing cabinets, equipment, showcases, plinths, props … everything down to the last roll of Sellotape. A secure, temporary store had to be found and prepared, ready to house us until we are ready to move back in! Our artefacts and resources had to be carefully wrapped and packed safely for protection. We used over 600 Really Useful Boxes, these boxes are a staple in the world of museum storage as they’re ideal conservation standard!
‘Decanting’ the Museum was a huge project in its own right, with every member of the staff team involved in some way. We were also helped by our dedicated, trained collections volunteers who between them contributed 985 hours, cleaning and packing hundreds of objects.
We had a number of particularly large and heavy objects both on display and stored at the museum. These included a horse-drawn fire engine, a 10m long Iron Age log boat, an iron-clad church safe weighing close on a quarter of a ton, and the wonderfully carved towering rudder from a c17th Dutch ship. These were challenging items to handle, and we needed a specialist removals team - see for yourself on the video shared below!
While the museum has been closed, we have been out on the road with ‘Museum on the Move’. This is our exciting outreach programme that is taking us out into the community, raising awareness of the Museum and our new offer, sharing our stories and collections, and giving us a chance to trial new ideas! Since we’ve been closed, we have connected with around 2,500 people through school workshop taster sessions, pop-up exhibitions, object handling, behind the scenes tours, talks, play, and creative activities. We have visited libraries, community centres, schools, parks, events, and festivals – building excitement for what’s to come.
Behind the scenes, the curator team continue to look after the collection items, cleaning, cataloguing and restoring precious museum artefacts and all the books from The History Centre that are still in use for important research. The curators are also working with the exhibition interpretation designs, from agreeing layout of gallery floors to items to be included in cabinets to label writing.
With the buildings finally empty, at the beginning of October, we handed over the keys of the Museum to our main contractor, Greendale Construction Group Limited. Internal demolition works will be taking place into the new year as the teams work hard at removing flooring, internal walls, lifts and utilities.
We will be sharing ‘behind the scenes’ through our social media Our Museum Journey (poolemuseum.org.uk)
There’s lots more to say and we look forward to updating you soon - Poole Museum Project Team
Poole Museum Redevelopment – our project at a glance!
· Transforming the museum into a thriving cultural space and community hub at the heart of a rejuvenated ‘Quay Quarter’.
· Secured £5m of third-party funding, our largest funder is The National Lottery Heritage Fund
· Conserving, restoring, and opening up all three of our historic buildings plus major improvements to public realm, signposting, and wayfinding
· Doubling publicly accessible space, significantly increasing the scale of the cultural offer
· Improving the environmental sustainability of the Museum and reducing our carbon footprint
· Transforming our visitor facilities, with a focus on accessibility and welcome for all
· Sharing our collections and stories in new ways with more and a wider range of people, including in our new collections studios
· Four new permanent galleries! Rediscovering Poole’s Maritime Heritage with three major new galleries showcasing our maritime archaeology and maritime collections, as well as a new Ceramics and Design Gallery, showcasing our Poole Pottery collection
· Changing and temporary exhibitions and displays: a new temporary exhibition gallery will bring in high-profile touring and temporary exhibitions, featuring loans from national museums, and there will be changing displays in our community gallery and throughout the museum.
· New flexible and accessible learning space for formal education sessions
Watch this great timelapse video of the log boat being carefully removed from the museum to be stored securely while redevelopment works take place.
The Our Museum Project Board meet every month with the external Design Team and sponsors to review the architectural and exhibition design progress, project risks and budgets for the Our Museum Project - Poole Museum led by an internal project team working with museum management, staff and volunteers, the local community and other stakeholders.
There are detailed design drawings for each of the Oakley's Mill galleries, the Wool Hall and Scaplen's Court and the planning application has been submitted for the new entrance to Scaplen's Court, the first piece of work to begin making this heritage building fully accessible.
Work continues to prepare the museum for closure at the end of December. The curator team are busy clearing and packing up Scaplen's Court while also starting to put together mock display cases and choose the artefacts from the vast collection that meet the new Interpretation Plan written for the museum. There is also a plan for decanting the entire museum collection before internal works start. Our Learning Team are organising their learning resources in preparation for the Museum on the Move offer, which will be funded by Poole Museum Foundation and the team are also delivering an extensive Activity Plan in the local community.
There are a number of researchers bringing all the facts together to contribute to the museum's heritage stories and even the labels for the exhibition cases are being designed too!
In September 2022 people attended Dorset Architectural Heritage Tours with visitors loving the chance to get behind the scene, stepping inside the hoardings to walk through the interior of the Wool Hall or getting to see the two restored back rooms of Scaplen's Court with the restoration, newly revealed fireplace and the conserved wattle and daub partition. All visitors appreciated the chance to speak to experts and with an Architect, Curator, History Centre Manager, Construction Director, Stonemason, Project Manager and Project Officer they were certainly able to get an insider’s view on our buildings, their heritage and future developments.
With having two outstanding universities on our doorstep, and students have been applying their learning to real life situation as researchers, designers, animators, and more! Arts University Bournemouth modelmaking students are currently creating replicas of museum objects and amazing handling models to take out ‘on the road’ when the museum is closed.
Greendale Construction Limited are continuing to undertake significant building work to the roofs and windows of Poole Museum – the Wool Hall (Town Cellars) and Oakley’s Mill. The scaffolding structure will need to remain around the Wool Hall until early-January and remain in place around Oakley’s Mill until end of February 2023.
Work has included the re-insulating, repairing and re-tiling the roof areas and unfortunately work has been delayed on the Wool Hall due to a change in roofing company, however, this is now underway again. The re-tiling of Oakley’s Mill is also being carried out with 4000 reclaimed slate tiles being fixed, along with the installation of the specialist solar panel tiling and new lightening protection.
A new dormer extension has been built on top of Oakley’s Mill to accommodate a new larger, accessible lift for the main museum. All the building’s external wooden shutters are being repaired and repainted before being put back with new ironmongery – there are over 60 pairs of shutters to restore! Internally, window timber frames have been replaced, bespoke aluminium framed windows with secondary glazing and security bars will be fitted throughout the building in December, ensuring that our buildings are as secure and energy efficient as possible.
From 3rd May 2022, Poole Museum will be undertaking significant building work to the roofs and windows of two of our important historic buildings – the Wool Hall (Town Cellars) and Oakley’s Mill.
This work is funded by the UK Government to help us be more sustainable and reduce the carbon footprint of the museum by 25 per cent. Building work will include new roof insulation, secondary glazing, and solar panel tiles. We will also be repairing and painting the wooden shutters on Oakley’s Mill. This will improve how the building looks. Scaffolding is needed to all sides of the buildings (excluding museum atrium).
A hoarding will be installed around the lower section of the scaffold with attractive graphics to minimise visual impact for neighbours and clearly signal that the local area, businesses, and the museum remain open.
Local company Greendale Construction Limited are contracted to undertake the work.
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 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.