Hampshire County Council

Executive Member - Recreation and Heritage Item 8

21 September 2005

Westbury Manor Museum - Revitalising Fareham's Community Museum.

Report by the Director of Recreation and Heritage

Contact: Chris Edwards 01962 826703 email: chris.edwards@hants.gov.uk

How the conclusion in this report fits with the Corporate Strategy

This scheme will impact on the delivery of all Corporate Aims, focusing most immediately on:

Aim 1 - maximising life opportunities: the proposal provides widespread access and security improvements, extensive changes to the ground floor of the museum and the creation of a new orientation gallery on the first floor together with flexible spaces for community use.

Aim 5 - improving services: these proposals will provide new facilities that enable improved service delivery.

1. Overview of the project

1.1 Fareham's museum opened in 1990 and is housed in Westbury Manor, a Grade 2 listed building located on Fareham's main shopping street. The original high quality displays have served the community well, with an annual average of approximately 32,000 visitors over the last ten years. The time has now come for further development, both to meet current user needs as a local history hub in South East Hampshire, and attract new audiences linked to a programme of community outreach. The project has, in part, arisen from the current review of museum provision within Hampshire at local, countywide and regional level, and is an integral part of Hampshire Museums' role as the lead partner in the SE Regional Hub.

1.2 The underlying philosophy for the development focuses on improving access for all, through the creation of flexible spaces and displays to accommodate new audiences and collections. We aim to maximise our potential for closer interaction with partners in the County Council's Recreation and Heritage Department (in particular building on strong links with Libraries and the Records Office) as well as developing partnerships further a field, to enable the delivery of an inclusive community engagement programme.

1.3 The vision for the space is to break down all physical and intellectual access barriers, giving local people a sense of ownership of a live space, rather than simply a preserved historic building. Within the space there will be opportunities to explore the local story at different levels, by providing a range of resources; from lively interactive displays and a programme of related activities and workshops, to reserve collections and an easily accessible portal to the county's rich collections of objects, archives and associated material.

1.4 Over the last fifteen years, the museum has been proactive in engaging local people in a range of initiatives, from community exhibitions, to creative writing inspired by collections. This project aims to increase intellectual access, by updating displays and interpretation, wherever possible involving local people in the process. The proposed improvements to physical access are the latest in an extensive programme of upgrades to the building since opening as a museum in 1990. These have included the use of sound in interpretation, refurbishing toilets to DDA standards, addition of a mechanised opener on the front door, and ramping of all emergency exits.

1.5 The project involves widespread access and security improvements, extensive changes to the ground floor of the museum and the creation of a new orientation gallery on the first floor, acting as a springboard to other social history displays in adjacent galleries.

2. Scope of the Works

2.1 Improvements to physical access

2.2 Creation of a community learning space and resource room

2.3 The "Pride of Place" Display

2.4 "Journeys through Time"; a new Fareham timeline gallery.

2.5 Relocation and redisplay of local clay industries material.

2.6 Refurbishment of temporary exhibitions gallery

2.7 Refurbishment of Coffee Shop Gallery

2.8 Improvements to Security

3. Funding and Timing

3.1 The total estimated cost of these proposals is £200,000 including fees.

   

£

 

Recreation & Heritage Capital Programme 04/05

 

25,000

 
       

PBRS Capital Programme (Access Improvements)

 

25,000

 
       

Fareham Borough Council

 

50,000

 
       

DCMS/Wolfson Foundation Grant

 

100,000

 
       

Total

 

200,000

 

3.2 Subject to the necessary approvals, it is planned to start preparatory works in the building in late September 2005 with the main access improvements programme, including the installation of a platform lift, taking place in November 2005.

3.3 As the project is being developed in the existing museum building, there will be no additional staffing or premises running costs.

4. Consultation with Local Member

4.1 The Museum is managed under an Agreement between Hampshire County Council and Fareham Borough Council and the Joint Management Committee fully supports the proposals. The County Councils representatives on that Committee as the project was developed were County Councillors Bryant and Ellis, both of whom represent Wards in the Borough of Fareham.

Recommendation

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB the list excludes:

1 Published works.

2 Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

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