A museum has today revealed plans for a multi-million-pound facelift – and has already received an initial grant of almost £150,000.
The popular St Barbe museum and art gallery in Lymington is to set to undergo the biggest transformation in its 19-year history.
Plans to change the face of the former school in New Street are still being finalised but the current proposals include an eye-catching new entrance, a cafe and an outdoor terrace, where visitors can sit and relax. A new public archive and a range of interactive displays are also included.
The far-reaching improvements will enable the museum to exhibit a larger number of historic objects. They will also give the public greater access to material originally owned by two of the best-known historians in the Lymington area, Edward King and Arthur Lloyd.
The new-look museum has been designed by London-based architect Bryan Avery, a former pupil of the school.
St Barbe has already been awarded a £146,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and is hoping to receive a total of £1.5m, but will have to raise another £500,000 itself.
Proposals include a new glass-walled entrance topp-ed by a “wavy wall” similar to existing structures in the town.
If all goes well work on the £2m scheme will start at the end of next year or the beginning of 2016 and is expected to take about 12 months.
David Rule, chairman of trustees, said: “It will make St Barbe fit for the future and enhance our ability to safeguard and share the history of the New Forest and Solent coast.”
The museum will have to close while the work is being carried out but St Barbe is planning to retain a presence in the town by moving to a temporary new home.
The director, Mark Tomlinson, said: “People of all ages will be able to enjoy our new, upgraded facilities.
“What’s unique about this project is that it will combine art and heritage and local people will participate in a fresh, dynamic approach to museum displays.”