HLF Redevelopment – March 2018 update
Plans are coming together! We’ve looked at everything you’ve said and its clear that the fen landscape is the key theme that interests our visitors. We want our new galleries to explore the unique landscape in this area and its impact on the lives of people who have lived here throughout time.
We’re going to look at the wild, watery fens of the early settlers and medieval period, when this was a community of islands. Then we’re going to look at the fens today, our rich farmland and how this is managed to stop flooding, how important it is as a source of food and how, still today, the landscape shapes our lives: where we live, what jobs we do and how we spend out time.
Taking inspiration from the wide skies and earthy colours of the fens, our designers are starting to plan concepts for the new galleries.
We’re also looking at the history of the Old Gaol building and explore ways to tell its stories and highlight its historic features.
The other major part of the project is our plan to enlarge our extension at the back of the museum. We’re going to put in a lift and more toilets and build a brand new education and community room.
HLF Redevelopment – December 2017 update
It’s been a busy few months at Ely Museum! We’re now working on developing the initial plans we proposed for the redevelopment. We have a design team on board including an architect and gallery designers and we’re having lots of exciting meetings narrowing in on the best options for our visitors, our building and our lovely collections.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their thoughts and ideas through our survey on the website or on social media, and to those who came into the museum and recorded their favourite (and least favourite!) things about the museum. We’re feeding all your thoughts into the design work and it’s so helpful to know what is most popular, as well as what you think the problems are. We are planning to have some designs to show you in the New Year – we’ll be putting on a display of architectural plans and exhibition gallery ideas from February and will have chances for you to record your thoughts on how the plans are progressing.
Ely Museum has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ‘Unlocking the Potential of the Old Gaol’ project, it was announced today.
The project aims to transform the museum over the next four years and to work more closely with local communities. The museum will become a heritage hub for locals and tourists, introducing them to the history of the area. New galleries, a series of events and exhibitions and welcoming visitor facilities will create an exciting destination for local families, schools and visitors to the area while resources and trails will encourage people to explore the district further.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, development funding of £159,300 has also been awarded to help Ely Museum to progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £1.8m at a later date.
The project will include the renovation of the historic ‘Old Gaol’ building and the redisplay of the collections within it. Displays will be developed to tell the story of Ely and East Cambridgeshire with input from local people. There will be lots of opportunities for the community to get involved with events and activities, volunteering opportunities and consultation. The new museum will include research areas to allow people to find out more about their local heritage. Schools visiting the museum will benefit from improved facilities and exciting new opportunities. A lift will improve access for visitors and all visitor facilities will be updated. Storage for the museum’s collections will be improved to safeguard local heritage for the future.
The museum building housed the Bishop of Ely’s gaol from 1679 – 1836 and has also been a private house, a library and a Registry Office.
Elie Hughes, Curator said: “This is such exciting news for Ely Museum! The support of the Heritage Lottery Fund means that the museum is one step closer to becoming an exciting twenty first century heritage attraction for the local area and its people.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “From much-needed space and reinvigorated displays, to safeguarding existing collections and adding new voices from the community – this project is set to transform Ely Museum for a 21st century audience.
“Our support has been made possible by National Lottery players so we’re particularly pleased that this project has a real focus on enabling communities to explore the heritage held at the museum and to play a vital role in its future. We look forward to seeing the plans develop.”