St Albans Museum pop-up shop ‘engages community’

St Albans Camera Club member Michael Shaw in the pop up shop in Christopher Place

St Albans Camera Club member Michael Shaw in the pop up shop in Christopher Place - Credit: Archant

A vacant store has been given a new lease of life as a pop-up shop, with its contents varying from week to week.

The former Swarovski premises in Christopher Place Shopping Centre is currently on loan rent-free to St Albans Museum, who are organising pop-up shops to engage the community in its various projects.

The venture comes as part of a bid to secure donations and awareness for the new St Albans Museum in the town hall, set to be completed by early 2017.

The first pop up shop debuted last week and displayed the museum’s forthcoming ’70s exhibition.

Museum curator Catherine Newly, was in charge of the ’70s exhibition, which displayed some of St Albans’ best memorabilia from the era.

She said: “It was fantastic, really busy, a really good opportunity. We had lots of people’s memories of St Albans and their reflections of events they remembered happening in St Albans.”

The exhibition has since been succeeded by St Albans Camera Club, who have set up a gallery of local photographs.

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Mike Gray, chair of St Albans Museums, said: “There are three main reasons why projects like this are important.

“First of all, we get to publicise the new museum and gallery projects. Secondly we get to actually raise funds for it, and thirdly we can attract members to other groups as well.

“The first day we opened the ’70s exhibition we had three times as many visitors as we did at the museum.

“You get people coming in asking ‘What’s this?’ and ‘What’s going on?’– it engages them.”

The museum still needs to raise £1.7 million by next July. Mike added: “It’s going slowly, but we thought it would be slow; you have to give a lot of time to the community and to other trusts.”

After the St Albans Camera Club, shoppers can look forward to more exhibitions from the museum and an art gallery from Oaklands College.