Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Museum and Gallery project gets underway

Source - news release from St Albans Council (22 Apr 2014)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given permission for work to start on the project to transform St Albans grade II* Town Hall into a museum and gallery.

The HLF has pledged £2.8m and St Albans City and District Council £2.25m towards the total project cost of £6.75m. St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust (the Trust) is leading fundraising for the remaining £1.7m, supported by the Council’s museums service and the University of Hertfordshire. The fundraising project is called “renaissance: St Albans”.

Last year the HLF awarded first phase development funding of £282,000 for the project which will see the Museum of St Albans move to the Town Hall. Work could not start on the partnership project until the HLF approved detailed plans for this first phase. The Council will now proceed to appoint a project manager, an architect and an exhibition and interpretation designer. They will develop the designs and long-term project plans needed to support a second-round application to the HLF for the balance of its £2.8m pledge. 

At a meeting on Thursday 24 April, Cabinet will hear that a number of specialist national architects’ practices have shown an interest in leading the design team.

Fundraising is being led by the Trust. A number of donations and pledges have been received, including from both the St Albans University of the Third Age and St Albans Civic Society. The community fundraising programme will be launched in June. 

The Council is working with various partners, including the Trust and the University of Hertfordshire Galleries to transform the beautiful Town Hall into a must-see attraction. The museum and gallery will also provide a cultural heritage resource for the region.

Visitors will be able to discover 2,000 years of St Albans history through innovative and inspirational displays and tour the Town Hall’s court room and prison cells. The Town Hall will also provide space for the University of Hertfordshire’s contemporary art gallery currently located with the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road. 

The aim is that the Town Hall will become a gateway for exploring other attractions in the City. These include Verulamium Museum, the Cathedral, the Roman Theatre and the medieval Clock Tower. 

The public can attend the Cabinet meeting at 7pm on Thursday 24 April at the District Council’s offices at the Civic Centre, St Peter’s Street, St Albans. The meeting is also being webcast and can be watched on the Council’s website at: http://www.stalbans.ukcouncil.net/site/

An update on the museum project is available in the papers for the meeting on Thursday 24 April here.

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