Public invited to view restoration of Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum

As part of Heritage Open Days, the public will be invited to the Grade II* listed museum as it undergoes major restoration

A quarter-million major restoration project to the exterior of Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum is the basis for a public open day, part of this year’s annual Heritage Open Days festival.

Next month, the public will be invited to both view and participate in the restoration works on the museum, which is currently housed in scaffolding.

Work on the fabric of the building is expected to start shortly and to be completed before Christmas. The current work is being funded by a grant of £256,054 from Arts Council England’s MEND (Museum Estate and Development).

The open day on Friday 8 September will allow visitors to hear from Adam Hickey from Pinnacle Conservation about the skills required to undertake work on listed buildings, and will provide an opportunity to create mason marks with help from a qualified stonemason.

The Rotunda Museum prior to scaffolding (Tony Bartholomew)

The circular museum, one of the first purpose-built museums in the country, was opened in 1829. It is listed as Grade II* by English Heritage.

Andrew Clay, Chief Executive of Scarborough Museums and Galleries, which runs the museum alongside Scarborough Art Gallery and Woodend, said: “We are undertaking some essential conservation work to the façade of the Rotunda. It involves replacing some of the stonework where it has severely deteriorated.

“The principal section is the ornamental cornice that supports the columns at the front of the building. Long ago this was replaced with a cement compound which has compromised the surrounding masonry. Cement isn’t porous so there has been significant water retention in the stone sections above.

Pete Massey, Director North, Arts Council England added: “Having grown up in Scarborough and enjoyed visiting the Rotunda Museum and its unique collections from childhood, I’m delighted that we have been able to support its repairs through our MEND programme so that future generations can continue to enjoy visiting.”