Go-ahead given for Nuneaton museum's bold makeover

Extensions will transform its role in town's cultural life

Planning has been approved for single-storey extensions and other alterations to Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.
Planning has been approved for single-storey extensions and other alterations to Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.

Planning has been approved for single-storey extensions and other alterations to Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery.

As previewed by Warwickshire World in January, the changes will create a large multi-use space and allow more of its collections to be displayed. The aim is to continue to portray the borough’s rich history and ensure that the exhibitions attracting both existing and new visitors of all ages and backgrounds to the museum and the area.

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The work is being partly funded through the Towns Fund. Chair of the Nuneaton Town Deal Board, Sean Farnell, said this week: “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.”

The final vision embraced a consultation which was held outside the museum during September and was accompanied by an online questionnaire.

Ideas 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.

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. Among the new activities being planned is work with volunteers who collect oral history and record objects in the community.

Architectural and heritage consultancy practice Purcell were appointed to develop the design and the accompanying images are by them.

Architect Smaranda Ciubotaru is leading on the museum’s new design and said: “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.

“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."

Cllr Sue Markham, portfolio holder for public services, added: “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.”