Museum Funding Approved

Museum Funding Approved

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of just under £1m to create a new museum at The Atkinson, Southport.

The money (£923,500) will be the last, and crucial element in the magnificent £17.8m redevelopment of the Lord Street building as a cultural and heritage venue for Sefton and the wider region.

Funding will provide Sefton’s museum collections with brand new purpose-built display spaces, bringing together for the first time collections from the former Botanic Gardens Museum and Bootle Museum & Art Gallery.

With more than 400 square meters of display space on the newly built second floor of The Atkinson, the museum spaces have the highest standards of security and environmental control. This will allow The Atkinson to borrow significant artefacts from national and international lenders in the future.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Children, Schools, Families and Leisure said: “This announcement is fantastic news for The Atkinson and the whole of Sefton. The new museum will complement the entire Atkinson building creating a fantastic cultural hub for everyone to enjoy.

“The new museum will be a natural starting point for visitors to the Sefton coast and will provide fun and exciting ways for families and children to engage with their heritage.

“We will also be able to display the borough’s fascinating and internationally important Egyptology collection for the first time in over forty years.

“The museum will also celebrate the creativity and innovative spirit of Sefton, from the creation of Dan Dare and the Eagle comic to our maritime heritage and the Vulcan motor vehicles which originated in the resort.”

The Atkinson engaged extensively with many local groups and organisations in developing the project over the last three years. This include local schools and colleges, civic societies, the Older Peoples Forum and the Community Volunteering Service.

Annie Ives from Home-Start, one of the many groups who supported the bid, said: “It’s really wonderful news. We are so looking forward to bringing young families along to enjoy everything The Atkinson has to offer.

“For us it’s about the next generation and making sure the history of the area is part of their culture.”

The new museum will also tell the history of Sefton’s coast – between land and sea, from the docks at Bootle to the unique natural habitats of Formby and the classic tourist resort of Southport in the 1920s and ‘30s.

The museum will display a wide variety of objects and fascinating stories of early settlements with 7,000 year old footprints of the coast’s earliest human inhabitants, dinosaur footprints and fossils. It will tell the dramatic story of our maritime history, wrecks, rescues and tragedy, land speed records and early aviation.

Sara Hilton, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, added: “We are delighted to support this great project that will bring together important aspects of Sefton’s culture and heritage under one roof.

“Some of the collections have not been on display for a very long time; it is welcome news that this rich heritage will soon be enjoyed by the wider public.

“Together with our funding through the Townscape Heritage Initiative project around Lord Street and the restoration of Kings Gardens, HLF is pleased that our funding will continue to contribute to the wider regeneration of Southport.”

Initial designs for the museum were prepared by leading museum design company Headland Design. The installation and fit out out the museum will now go out to tender.

The development of the museum should take about a year to complete and is scheduled to open next autumn.


Notes to editors: About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.5bn across the UK.

Posted on 7 October 2013 under General news

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