First look pictures: Take a look inside Weston Museum's £1.6million refurbishment
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 August 2017
Weston Museum now has the 'wow factor' ahead of its re-opening later this month, as these exclusive Mercury images show.
The museum has undergone a £1.6million transformation, which includes a lift and new galleries and exhibition spaces.
The hope is it will not only provide a boost to the arts and cultural sector in Weston, but will also become a gallery and museum of regional significance.
Entry fees have been scrapped when it re-opens to the public from August 26 onwards, and the Mercury was this week granted access to have a look around while staff clear away the final boxes.
The project was spearheaded by Weston Town Council, which runs the museum, and supported by money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
John Crockford-Hawley, chairman of the museum and heritage committee on the town council, said: “Though the previous museum was adequate it had become stale – nothing had changed in 40 years.
“We now have a real ‘wow’ factor museum and art gallery of regional significance.”
Works of art which have been in storage for decades have been given a new lease of life and are back on display.
A high-security gallery will also be able to host important touring exhibitions from across the UK.
The new café will serve locally-sourced food and drink, including wine from Somerset vineyards.
It is based in the main atrium covered by a replacement glass roof, which brightens the space up.
Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: “This is also a community museum with space for local organisations to display their stories and the new education room will be available for meetings, lectures, small conferences and social bookings.
“Our town is becoming a hint more cosmopolitan and I’d like to see those from different countries feel it is also their museum – a place where we can share and learn a bit more about one another.
“With this aim in mind I’m delighted our first community hosting will involve Weston’s Greek community.”
A second phase of refurbishment is also planned, but if funding is secured it will be possible to go ahead without the museum having to close.