Exciting times for museums in Newark and Sherwood

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A series of inspirational museum programmes which will be taken out into the community will mark the start of an exciting period for local museums, culminating in the opening of the National Civil War Centre and new Newark Museum in two years.

Newark and Sherwood District Council successfully bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) earlier this year for £3.5m of funding to build the new museum at the Old Magnus Buildings in Newark.

Before the scheduled opening of the centre in September 2014, the council’s museum service is set to embark on a period of outreach work which will celebrate 100 years of museums in Newark and Sherwood.

This will involve the phased closure and decommissioning of Millgate Museum from the end of October 2012.

The new museum will provide a single point for the museum service and consolidate the current offering.

Councillors are set to decide on the schedule when the Cabinet meets on September 6th. It is proposed that Millgate Museum will close on October 29th.

The museum will partially close for 5 days a week from October 1st but will open over the October half term period (October 20th to Sunday October 28th inclusive) to ensure demand is met where it is higher.

Following the closure, museum staff will begin the careful process of decommissioning Millgate, disposing of some of the collection, transferring some to the council’s Resource Centre and beginning outreach work.

The council’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, Coun Roger Jackson, said: “It was an exceptional result for the council to successfully apply for the £3.5m of funding from the HLF. It placed the district in the top 10% of grants being awarded for this amount, usually restricted to larger facilities of major national significance.

“So, it is important the council begins the process of putting in place a stimulating and improved museum offer while the centre is being built.

“Millgate Museum has been a fantastic facility in the 35 years it has been open and has provided hundreds of thousands of visitors with exhibitions and information about the social history of our district.

“We’re looking to enter a new and exciting chapter with the new National Civil War Centre and new Newark Museum, which will help the district capitalise on the rich civil war history it possesses.

“In the meantime, our excellent museum staff will effectively be taking our museum offer into the community. We estimate more than 50,000 people will engage with the council’s collections from the end of October until the new museum opens its doors through the many exciting projects we have planned.”

During the October half term the museum team will deliver a celebration event at Millgate Museum for visitors to mark the centenary of the museum service.

The council will continue with its outreach programme and will also launch some new outreach activities. These include museum display cases showing objects at community venues; a Time Travel recording Project researching the lives and times of Magnus School pupils, presented through drama; A History of Newark & Sherwood in 10 Objects, through a portable display for use at events such as the Nottinghamshire County Show, Newark Castle and events at Sconce and Devon Park events; formal school outreach work and out of school activities for young people, working with Newark and District Young Archaeologists Club (NADYAC); ghost tours and living history events with Civil War re-enactment groups.