Corinium Museum wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

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The Corinium Museum has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for “Stone Age to Corinium: Discover the Archaeology of the Cotswolds”.

This exciting project will create new Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Roman interactive galleries along with a new Discovery Centre and garden. Objects that are currently in storage will be conserved and put on display for the first time, including rare stone and bone tools, rock art, and beakers. This will help the museum to tell a new story about the pre-Roman occupation of the Cotswolds and support a wide range of activities, including the new prehistory curriculum.

Development funding of £96,300 has also been awarded to help the Corinium Museum progress their plans to apply for a full grant later on this year.

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “HLF has been a long-term supporter of the Corinium Museum, having previously funded a major project at the site in 2001. We’re delighted to now offer this initial National Lottery support to revitalise these important galleries. It will create many more chances for local people and visitors alike to see more fascinating objects that tell the story of the area through defining periods in our history. We look forward to seeing how the plans develop.”

The project’s focus will be the Grade II listed Abberley House, therefore the development will be sympathetic to the heritage features, opening up the original shutters and restoring its aspect as a prominent Georgian town house. Located at the front of the building will be the new Discovery Centre, which will be a dedicated space for engaging in the museum programme. This will include school workshops covering the new curriculum topics: Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age; archaeological workshops and practical demonstrations of ancient crafts; a research area for staff and volunteers working with museum objects; and a space for our popular holiday activities.

Amanda Hart, Museum Director, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. This project will transform the opening galleries, bringing the now dated displays in line with the rest of the museum. The Discovery Centre will give us a much needed space for our growing programme of activities enjoyed by all”.

Cotswold District Council owns the Museum, and the Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Nick Parsons, also welcomed the development funding: “The Corinium Museum is a real jewel in the Cotswold crown – it holds large and internationally significant collections of archaeology, social and rural history and is rightly acknowledged as a treasure trove of Roman artefacts. However, to continue succeeding in the 21st century and become more resilient and sustainable it must keep on reviewing its operations and adapt to modern demands.

“The Museum underwent an extensive renovation just over ten years ago and the improvements are there for all to see. This new project revisits the parts that weren’t upgraded at the time and we believe that the improvements envisaged would be stunning. We estimate that the improvements could increase visitor numbers significantly and should therefore boost income. Residents and visitors would be able to view exhibits previously stored away, and see the work of restorers and other support staff at close quarters for the first time.”

“The Council will give its strong support to the Museum’s Lottery bid and we hope that it will succeed so that this exciting project can take off.”