A MUSEUM has closed its doors for four months for a £665,000 revamp.
Westbury Manor Museum, a historic Grade II-listed building in West Street, Fareham, shut today to undergo drastic changes in order to boost visiting figures which have plummeted in recent years.
This is an exciting project which will see the museum become a dynamic modern venue appealing to even more visitors and meeting the needs of the futureCouncillor Sue Bell
Fareham Borough Council’s plans for the museum involve remodelling the reception area and cafe, and providing community space that local businesses can hire with an ‘enhanced’ shop to sell Hampshire produce.
The museum’s current exhibitions will be modernised into a mix of interactive exhibits and digital media with the second floor converted into creative studios.
Railings in the front courtyard will be removed in a bid to make the museum more welcoming.
Councillor Sue Bell, executive member for leisure on the council, said: ‘This is an exciting project which will see the museum become a dynamic modern venue appealing to even more visitors and meeting the needs of the future.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing how work progresses over the coming months.’
A total of 32,217 people visited the museum from April 2009 to March 2010.
This figure has dropped by nearly half, with 16,307 visitors coming to the venue from April 2015 to March 2016.
Janet Owen, chief executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust said: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Fareham Borough Council on this exciting and unique opportunity to redevelop Westbury Manor Museum, transforming it into a vibrant and lively focal point in the heart of the community.
‘When it reopens this summer, visitors will be greeted by some thrilling new exhibitions showcasing Fareham’s rich and varied heritage, a bigger cafe and a much-enhanced shop.’
Construction work is due to begin on the site later this month.
It is estimated that work will last for four months with the museum reopening in late May or early June.
The council has provided £448,000 of funding for the project while the cultural trust obtained a £100,000 grant for the upstairs work.
Hampshire County Council, architects and another grant will fund the rest.