MANSFIELD Museum has taken a massive step towards the goal of a £300,000 transformation after funding chiefs endorsed its plans.
The award-winning Leeming Street centre has been given the green light by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop the scheme further.
Staff have been awarded an initial £23,000 in development funding to produce official plans for an overhaul of the museum’s arcade.
The long, airy gallery inside the entrance will feature new displays on Mansfield’s industrial heritage under the project.
Museum collections including a vast archive of photographs would also be digitised using the cash and a volunteer programme to support the work and develop events would also be set up. Said Liz Weston, museum and art gallery curator: “Ultimately this could transform the front part of the museum.
“We are now clear of the initial application procedures.”
The HLF now expect the museum to submit detailed plans by September.
Officials will spend the cash on drawing up a detailed breakdown of the changes and how they will benefit the museum.
Added Mrs Weston: “We will use it to consult with some of the best people in the business for advice on how to turn our vision into a clear framework for making our hopes into reality.”
Emma Sayer, head of HLF East Midlands, said the organisation was pleased to be supporting the scheme.
“This project has the potential to transform the museum, revitalising existing galleries,” she said.
“It will also revitalise existing public spaces and offer new opportunities for visitors from near and far to enjoy these fascinating collections.
“There is still work to be done in developing the project but HLF will be offering their full support in taking their application further.”
Last year the museum won the national Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award, and is still seeing a surge in visitors.
It welcomed 4,585 people in December 2011, compared with 2,926 for the same month in 2010.