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Exciting museum transformation plans approved

Published on Monday, 28th February 2022

Museum extension - front aspect

Planning has been approved for a single-story extension and alterations to be made to Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.

The innovative plans will deliver an increase in the museum’s footprint with two ground floor extensions. This will enable the creation of a large multi-use space which will extend the engagement activities for both community and commercial use as well as enabling collections to be expanded.

Partly funded through the Towns Fund, the intention is to deliver a transformation which ensures the building and its collections flourish and sees the museum deliver pleasure and learning to audiences, strengthening its role as a community resource.

Sean Farnell, Chair of the Nuneaton Town Deal Board commented:

“I am delighted that this important step has been taken. It shows a great commitment to the cultural offering in the town and is another milestone towards the exciting town centre regeneration as part of the Towns Fund initiative.

“The museum plans really help to open the space up for more visitors and enhance the offer for a wider audience and I’m looking forward to seeing the plans come to fruition.”

We are hugely grateful to all those who participated in the consultation which was held outside the museum during September and was accompanied by an online questionnaire.

Several fantastic ideas were put forward including a new exhibition about the history of the museum and park, improvements to the George Eliot and Local History displays as well as the opening of the riverside area and a larger space outdoors, both of which are being picked up in the external landscaping. 

All comments received were passed to the architects to help them evolve the scheme. There was strong support for many elements of the scheme including a new café with park views, ground floor toilets and the introduction of a multi-use space.

Cafe external and side   Cafe internal

As well as allowing an increased amount of collections to be on display, the extension will enable improved storage facilities and energy efficiency. Exploiting the museums park location, more activities, and trails to aid wellbeing will also be introduced.

Following a procurement exercise, award-winning architectural and heritage consultancy practice Purcell were appointed. Purcell have vast experience working with listed/historic buildings, museums, and galleries.

Architect Smaranda Ciubotaru, who is leading on the museum’s new design, commented:

“We are thrilled that the plans for the museum transformation have been approved. The museum is a highly significant local landmark, well-loved by the entire community which was reflected in the level of interest expressed in the public consultation. In our proposals to refurbish and extend the existing building, we sought to produce a design which is sympathetic to the architectural language already established on site.

“The extensions take obvious cues from the proportions of the museum building, embracing the same restrained simplicity and restricted palette of materials. We aimed for a proposal which is sufficiently understated and respectful of the existing building, yet noticeably modern and contemporary. We hope that the new facilities will not only help safeguard the future of the building but also bring great benefit and value to the community."

The aim is to continue to portray the Borough’s rich history and ensure that the exhibitions are coherent and exciting, attracting both existing and new visitors of all ages and backgrounds to the museum and the Borough

The introduction of new engagement activities will ensure each aspect of the development will be refined through close engagement with our audiences. Work with volunteers who collect oral history and record objects in the community will allow for compelling stories to be created

Councillor Sue Markham, Portfolio Holder for Public Services was thrilled to see the planning approved, she said:

“This is a great step forward for the museum transformation, the plans are so exciting, and I can’t wait to watch the next step in this journey.

“The developments will bring even more audience engagement, an enhanced exhibition offering and brand-new facilities which will add to a wonderful visitor experience at our already beloved museum.”

Find out more information about the Towns Fund

All images credited to Purcell.