New Postal Museum

Museum projects to look out for in 2017

By Adrian Murphy

2017 will bring many exciting museum projects to fruition in the UK, from multi-million pound new builds, to restoration and conservation projects as well as the transformations of existing buildings. Here’s M+H Advisor’s top 10 projects to look out for in the year ahead

Ferens Art Gallery

This year Hull celebrates being the UK’s city of culture and the Ferens Art Gallery, which will host the Tate’s Turner Prize competition 2017, will reopen on Friday, January 13 following a 12-month £5.1m redevelopment project.

Major work has been completed, as part of a £3.9m government investment, on the environmental control capabilities of the gallery, opened in 1927, as well lighting and building maintenance. Highlights will include the redisplay of the permanent collection including the conserved Pietro Lorenzetti panel painting of Christ between Saints Paul and Peter, c.1320, which will be unveiled for the very first time.

The first season of 2017 will also include a major re-hang of its permanent collection which includes works by Frans Hals, Canaletto, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Mark Wallinger as well as newly acquired contemporary art and a major bequest by Joseph Wright of Derby. Masterpieces have also been loaned from the National Gallery, Courtauld Gallery and Royal Collections Trust with works by Giotto and Francis Bacon.

Ferens Art Gallery will reopen on January 13 following extensive redevelopment

JORVIK Viking Centre

The JORVIK Viking Centre will reopen on April 8 following a £1.5m fundraising campaign, to complement the money its insurers put forward to help with renovations after the attraction suffered substantial flood damage in December 2015.

The York Archaeological Trust has created a new, immersive, and inspirational JORVIK, which highlights new research and discoveries, and incorporates cutting-edge interpretative and display technologies.

New developments will include animatronics and models on the ride experience, new immersive experiences, interactive digital applications within the galleries and new, bespoke displays for its priceless Viking-Age artefacts.

Thorfinn Finn Brigham and Arnleif Erin Pockley with the Viking trading boat part of the touring Home and Abroad Exhibition at York St Marys

Weald and Downland Gateway project

A new visitor centre, shop and waterside café will open at Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex this Easter.

This project has been called the Gateway Project and will offer new interpretation within the galleries and the Museum site that will enhance the visitors’ understanding of the museum and its history of rural life spanning 950 years.

The project has cost £5.6m with £4m provided by a HLF grant and the remainder through the museum’s robust fundraising campaign.

Weald and Downland will unveil its Gateway Project during Easter weekend with a new visitor centre, shop and waterside café

National Army Museum 

The National Army Museum will reopen this spring following an £11.4m redevelopment project supported the HLF that has radically transformed the building on Hospital Road, Chelsea with a new atrium and galleries.

The bright new museum, to open in the spring, will include more than 2,000 objects, including TE Lawrence dagger and robe saved for the nation last year, newly displayed in five permanent thematic galleries – Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight.

There will also be a temporary exhibition space along with a café, shop, study centre and PlayBase, where early years can learn through play.

The new National Army Museum has created a new atrium and five galleries

The Engine Shed

Run by Historic Environment Scotland, the £8.9m Engine Shed project, which will open this spring, is conservation and visitor centre in Stirling that will be the first dedicated building conservation centre in the country and will combine immersive and interactive exhibitions, and a research and learning hub that’s free to visit.

The project, which was boosted by a £3.8m HLF grant, has seen the renovation of The Engine Shed building, built between 1896 and 1913 and used as a goods transfer shed and also as a base by the army in the run up to both world wars.

The new conservation centre will not only protect Scotland’s heritage and offer new skills but will have a permanent exhibition, a 3D theatre explaining the materials and skills used to build and maintain traditional buildings, augmented reality software on tablet computers, allowing visitors to explore Scotland’s historic buildings and geology, as well as interactive activities covering subjects including corrosion, thermal imaging and 3D scanning.

The Engine Shed has redeveloped old goods transfer sheds into a new conservation centre and visitor attraction

New Postal Museum

The £26m Postal Museum in Clerkenwell will comprise of five interactive zones or galleries that will take the visitor through the five centuries of the Royal Mail’s history of innovation from horse drawn carriages to the digital age.

Opening in mid-2017, the Postal Museum will also offer the chance to discover a piece of Britain’s industrial heritage through the 100-year-old Mail Rail, a new ride that winds around a labyrinth of hidden tunnels that were once an integral part of dispatching mail from the capital.

The project is supported by the HLF, Post Office Limited, Royal Mail Group and fundraised income from trusts and foundations, corporate supporters and individuals.

Underground tunnels, part of a now disused railway network, will form part of the visitor experience at the new Postal Museum

The Sill Landscape Discovery Centre 

The Sill – Landscape Discovery Centre is a £14.2m project opening in June 2017, creating new visitor facilities, interpretation and information as well as a new YHA Youth Hostel among the Northumberland National Park.

Aided by a £7.8 HLF grant, the new centre will enable far more visitors, including those with less ability, to understand and explore the landscapes, history, culture and heritage of Northumberland. The area is home to some of England’s darkest skies, having recently been awarded International Dark Sky Park status.

The Sill will also provide a cafe, bar and event facilities and is currently inviting expressions of interest from caterors and restaurant operators with a January 11 deadline.

The Sill – Landscape Discovery Centre is creating new visitor facilities in Northumberland National Park

V&A Exhibition Road Project

In July the V&A will unveil the new £49.5m Exhibition Road Project, the latest part of its FuturePlan initiative with a new entrance, courtyard and gallery space off Exhibition Road.

The new subterranean gallery will host temporary exhibitions and will showcase the best of contemporary design, as well as celebrating  the V&A’s existing building.

In addition to providing a range of new public spaces inside and outside the Museum, the project will create a new relationship between the heart of the V&A and Exhibition Road.

The project will see a new entrance, courtyard and gallery space off Exhibition Road

Tate St Ives 

In autumn 2017 Tate St Ives will open new gallery space and roof gardens as part of £19.9m redevelopment. The project has been funded by Cornwall Council, HLF, ACE, Coastal Communities Fund and the Headley Trust as well as raised funds through private trusts, foundations and individual donors.

The new Tate St Ives is a project that will create more space to show art and new spaces for events and activities, transforming how the gallery is operated. For the first time the gallery will be able to have a permanent display of work, alongside changing exhibitions and a dedicated spaces for its Learning programme and the modernist artists who lived and worked in St Ives.

The photograph shows the existing gallery space to the left and to the right the new

National Justice Museum

National Justice Museum to launch in Nottingham later this year and is a project, supported by a £1m HLF grant, that will be the new name for The Egalitarian Trust, which currently incorporates the Galleries of Justice Museum, the City of Caves in Nottingham and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL).

The new museum will see improved interpretation of the UK’s largest collection relating to law, justice, crime and punishment and will include an immersive range of new exhibition areas and visitors will also be able to enjoy new interactive activities suitable for all the family. The National Justice Museum will also provide public legal education programmes in Nottingham, London and the North West.

Originally planned for February, the launch of the National Justice Museum will now take place later in 2017 due to a delay in the capital works.