Exciting plans to transform Worthing Museum & Art Gallery into a destination visitor attraction were revealed on Thursday 12th April, with an overwhelmingly positive response from MPs, business representatives, educational organisations and cultural experts from across the region, who were invited to the special event.
The ‘Let the Light in’ project will see the Museum teaming up with with award-winning architects Allies and Morrison, to take the Grade II listed Edwardian building back to its former glory. The transformation will remove the plasterboard panels and lower ceilings added during the 60s and 70s, and also removing boards from windows and roof lights, to open up the building.
The light, bright and airy space will form seamless gallery spaces to showcase its inspiring collection, plus expand upon its current education and research facilities, making Worthing Museum & Art Gallery an attractive place to visit not only for local residents, but national visitors too.
Martin Randall, Adur & Worthing Councils’ Director for the Economy, said:
“With 60,000 visitors each year Worthing Museum and Art Gallery already plays a big part in the town’s local economy. But we think it can be even better.”
“These changes could create a centre of national significance in the heart of our community. That is great news not only researchers from the film industry, fashion houses and historians who will get access to the wonderful collections but also for our local community who will have an inspirational cultural hub.”
“The museum and art gallery which is part of Worthing Borough Council’s Culture offer will double current visitor numbers to reach 120,000 by the end of 2020.”
“Combined with the work we are doing in terms of regeneration and improving public spaces, this is all part of the Councils’ wider vision of bringing investment into Worthing.”
Currently, only 50% of the 110 year old building is accesible to the public, with only 5% of their collection on show. By opening up this stunning Edwardian space, the museum aims to display their collections, using interactive and engaging ways.
This, along with the development of the Educational Space, will mean that more local school children can be inspired due to the increased capacity and collections on show. While members of the public will also be able to learn more about the conservation, as the museum takes this work from behind the scenes to a dedicated area.
Other plans for the museum and art gallery include: a state-of-the-art costume research centre giving access to the 30,000 items in the collection (turning it into a national centre with the additions of 3D photography, 3D printers and pattern cutting tables), a new cafe and larger retail space.
Worthing Borough Council has committed £125,000 to the project and a further £50,000 to enable the costume research centre to be started by late summer this year.
The ambition is to complete the project by the end of 2020 with the museum remaining open to the public for the majority of the work.
Follow the progress of Worthing Museum & Art Gallery by visiting: https://worthingmuseum.co.uk/.