At 10:30am on Saturday 18th February, the Market Hall Museum officially reopened to the public following an 18 month redevelopment, as part of a wider £1.5 million heritage project generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The large crowd, gathered outside the building, were welcomed by the Mayor of Warwick and Warwick Town Crier, before Elizabeth and Robert from Westgate Primary School cut the ribbon to formally reopen the building.
Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said:
“We’re delighted to have supported the redevelopment of Market Hall Museum and it’s brilliant to see its doors open this month. Thanks to National Lottery players, more people will get the chance to see the museum’s fascinating collection and to contribute their own stories, adding to the county’s rich heritage and cultural identity.”
Over the course of the day, thousands visited and enjoyed the various facilities, with activities ranging from art and craft activities to alternative theatrical tours. Locally based theatre group Talking Birds produced a bespoke theatrical MusGuided Tour for the event, which was enjoyed throughout the day, by all ages.
For the first time in the building’s history, wheelchair access was available to both floors of the gallery, made possible by the newly installed platform lift financed by visitor donations to the Museum. Accessibility has been a major focus of the project, with consultation with the project’s Access Panel delivering an accessible toilet and brand new digital labels amongst other new features.
Old favourites returned to the Museum, including the iconic Giant Irish Deer skeleton, the Sheldon Tapestry, the Warwickshire Bear and the live bee hive. These were complemented by a whole array of new features and exhibits including community artwork, the Warwickshire Dinosaur, costume pieces, interactives as well as a vibrant, locally supplied café.
Cllr Jeff Clarke, Portfolio holder for the Environment, said:
“Saturday’s relaunch of the Market Hall Museum was a resounding success, it was fantastic to hear that so many people of all ages came out to view the newly re-designed building. I was fortunate enough to have a tour of the museum a few days before it opened its doors to the public and was very impressed with the new space and exhibitions awaiting visitors inside Market Hall’s historic entrance.”
Cllr Philip Johnson, Chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, added:
“It’s fantastic for Warwick and the wider county that Market Hall Museum is now re-open to the public. Residents will be able to see old favourites including the Sheldon Tapestry, Oisin, the Giant Irish Deer, the Warwick Bear and items from the collection previously not on display, such as the Hans Frei Lute, textile collections and the exclusive Warwickshire Dinosaur – Cruxicheiros newmanorum – which was named after the disused quarry site where the bones were discovered.”
The reopening week continues with a diverse range of exciting events, from open mic to silent disco and from giant dinosaurs to Pif-Paf theatre group’s spectacular vehicles (sponsored by Phillips 66). For all the information on the relaunch week events visit: heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk
- Museum: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
- Cafe: Tuesday-Saturday 8am-4pm
- Shop: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm