Paintings discovered behind walls as museum is stripped to a shell

PUBLISHED: 15:26 10 May 2016 | UPDATED: 15:26 10 May 2016

The museums main atrium.

The museums main atrium.

Archant

Bare walls, wires hanging from the ceiling and stripped down to the bones – this is how Weston Museum looks ahead of its £1million refurbishment.

Removal of display cabinets in this area revealed wall art that had been forgtten about for decades.Removal of display cabinets in this area revealed wall art that had been forgtten about for decades.

The Mercury and other museum supporters were given an exclusive look around the Burlington Street building before the contractors move in and begin the transformation.

The museum will be completely unrecognisable next time people walk through its doors.

Staircases and balconies in the main atrium will be ripped out, and replaced with new stairs and a lift, providing disabled access for the first time.

Bridges will be installed at either end of the museum, meaning people can travel around the upper floors in a circle.

Rooms previously not open to the public, including the storeroom which was once used by the Gasworks company, will become new galleries.

Only one exhibit remains in the museum – the flatner – a type of boat which is being moved this week.

The building work has also unearthed some surprises, including paintings which were hidden behind cabinets for decades.

Work will begin in earnest in June, and it is hoped the project will be completed by August 2017.

Weston Town Council and museum volunteers are hoping to raise money for a second phase in the revamp, which involves creating a Victorian street scene and refurbishing other rooms.

If they do raise enough money, this work will largely go ahead without the museum being closed for a second time.

To contribute to the work, you can buy a block for the floor with your name on. Simply visit www.buy-a-block.co.uk

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