MORE than £600,000 has been spent giving a museum a massive makeover.
Westbury Manor, in Fareham, opened its doors yesterday to show off its four new galleries and extended cafe.
The museum, on West Street, is due to be officially reopened by the mayor of Fareham Councillor Geoff Fazackarley today with members of the public invited in to take a look.
Fareham Borough Council gave £448,000 to the makeover with a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding helping with the £665,000 refurbishment.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of the council, said: ‘I was coming close to thinking about what we should do with the building because the museum was dull and unchanged.
‘There were displays that had been there for decades and after people had visited once, they wouldn’t return because they had seen it.
It is fantastic to see it open with more on offer and to see a real attraction in the town centre at last.Councillor Sean Woodward
‘Now, we have exhibits that can be changed giving our visitors new displays. It is fantastic to see it open with more on offer and to see a real attraction in the town centre at last.’
The cafe and gift shop on the ground floor were part of the makeover and the top floor is now available as a creative studio for people to rent instead of the officers that were there before.
The galleries, on the second floor, take a look at Fareham’s history through the stone and bronze age, the 18th/19th Century and the last 100 years.
The fourth gallery is on the Ancient Egyptians but will be changed for new exhibitions.
Janet Owen, chief executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust which secured the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, said: ‘The refurbishment has been an exciting and unique project for our highly-skilled and dedicated team.
‘We are all absolutely thrilled with the end result.’
For details visit hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/westbury-manor-museum