Dorset County Museum has secured one of the largest single Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grants ever, paving the way for a £13 million expansion and revamp designed by Carmody Groarke
The Dorchester museum confirmed it had been handed £11.3 million which will allow it to ’realise and deliver a major redevelopment of its current site’ in its attempts to try and double visitor numbers to more than 80,000 a year.
The plans for the Grade II-listed museum, which include a new 2,500m² extension, will create extra display and conservation areas for objects from its internationally important geological, archaeological, palaeontological, literature and fine art collections.
As well as increasing gallery space to allow for more of the museum’s four million artefacts to be on public show, the scheme – a mix of refurbished buildings and new build – will create a learning and activity centre, larger and improved shop and café facilities, additional space for volunteers, and better workshop and storage facilities.
Carmody Groarke landed the commission following an invited contest three years ago.
Carmody Groarke director Kevin Carmody said: ‘This marks a significant milestone in the museum’s development in being able to expand and improve the care of the collection as well as its visitor experience.
‘We are very proud to be taking the project forward through the next design and delivery phases to completion.’
The museum’s Collections Discovery Centre project received initial support from the HLF in 2015, with the award of £483,900 facilitating a two-year development plan.
The lottery cash leaves the museum needing to find an additional £1.6 million to reach its target of £15 million and next month will see the launch of its public fundraising campaign entitled Hidden Gems.
Dorset County Museum director Jon Murden said: ‘We are overjoyed that the HLF has given us this opportunity. For the first time, we will have the space to do justice to our amazing collections, whilst ensuring they are safely preserved for future generations to enjoy.’
The new facilities are due to open in 2020.
Type of project Museum
Client Dorchester County Museum
Architect Carmody Groarke
Structural engineer Price & Myers
M&E consultant Skelly & Couch
Quantity surveyor MDA Consulting
Dorset Count Museum - interior - Carmody Groarke. Scheme in 2015
Source: Forbes Massie