In pictures – Visitors flood through Weston Museum’s doors on successful opening weekend
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:47 30 August 2017
(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved
Weston Museum was ‘handed back to the community which fought to keep it open’ at the weekend, following its major £1.6million refurbishment.
The museum, in Burlington Street, has been closed for two years while builders and designers have been on site making it wheelchair-accessible and transforming the exhibitions.
Just seven years ago museum looked at risk of closure, as its previous owner North Somerset Council tried to cut costs.
Petitions were launched to keep it open and Weston Town Council stepped in to take it over.
The Heritage Lottery Fund then provided the necessary funds to revamp the building.
As its doors opened to the public for the first time in two years following the extensive refurbishment, a spokesman from the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “After years of hard work the museum is ready to hand back to the community which fought to keep it open.”
More than 2,500 people visited on its opening day, and another 500 went along on Sunday and Monday.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley, chairman of the museum working party, said: “It was so encouraging to see the volume of interest and especially the high proportion of younger people and families, many of whom stayed for a considerable time.
“Many people expressed surprise at the volume of interest, saying they intend returning when there might be fewer people.
“This has been a hugely successful project by the town council and throughout the four-year gestation period of planning and construction work there’s been a really positive team effort by staff, contractors and councillors from across the political spectrum.
“The new museum is now a thoroughly up-to-date attraction and very much part of Weston’s regeneration.”
Nick Melling, visitor services manager, said the weekend was a huge success.
He said: “The support from all the people in Weston really showed through.”
The museum will now open daily, and is free to enter.
The next major event will be on September 9-10 to coincide with the national Heritage Open Days festival, where a camera obscura will be in the learning space.
Pictures by Jeremy Long, unless otherwise stated.