A £7.5 million project to relaunch Milton Keynes Museum as one of the UK’s leading attractions, has been announced.
The project, thanks to initial funding from Milton Keynes Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England will involve transforming the existing site at Wolverton.
The new museum, set to open in 2018, will feature major new galleries tracing the area’s story from pre-history right through to the present day.
The project will also see high quality museum collections storage and other public benefits, making the new museum a leading attraction for the region and beyond.
Bill Griffiths, director of MK Museum which is leading the project in partnership with MK Council, insists the hands-on style people have come to know and love will remain a key part of the new museum experience.
He said: “This is an incredible opportunity and what has been missing from the city – a museum that tells the whole story of the area.
“The people of Milton Keynes have given the current museum fantastic support all the way through and what we aim to create is a museum that they feel belongs to them, is somewhere they are proud of and will want to bring friends and visitors to, to show off their heritage.”
Key partners including The Parks Trust and Marshalls are also on board and will, along with MK Council, over the next 12 months appoint designers and architects and put together detailed plans that will release the next stage of funding.
The new galleries will tell the story of the period from pre-history through to the 1800s, and the story of the new city’s creation and development – including special exhibition areas for some of MK’s most successful businesses and enterprises.
Peter Geary, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Realm, said: “Milton Keynes has a huge amount of heritage to celebrate.
“Time has moved on and it is important we don’t lose the true story of how this city came to be and the people who helped make it what it is today.
“That’s why we want to hear from the public, and from those organisations that are part of the city’s success.”
The partners are now asking people what they want to see, hear and experience from their new museum.
There will be an exhibition at the end of the month in the Discover Milton Keynes Showcase at the Central Milton Keynes library where people of all ages can give their views.
You can contribute via the Milton Keynes Museum page on Facebook, start a conversation with @mkmuseum on Twitter, or contact the partners using the details on the museum’s website www.mkmuseum.org.uk.
Added Bill: “Another thing we are excited about is that this will give us a chance to bring home some of the very important artefacts that belong here but which – without a modern museum on this scale – have had to be stored or dispersed to other museums in the UK.
“I really believe this could be the best museum in the country. As people can see, we are setting our sights high.”
> Tell us what you think, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook or Twitter.