Opening date announced for new St Albans Museum and Gallery
- Credit: Archant
The new St Albans Museum and Gallery will open its doors to the public this summer.
Following a two-year restoration of the city’s Georgian Town Hall, the £7.75 million Museum and Gallery will open on Friday, June 8.
The museum, which will be free to all visitors, aims to showcase more than 2,000 years of heritage and host art exhibitions, showing treasures both local and from around the world. Visitors will also be able to enjoy national touring exhibitions from other UK museums for a small entry fee.
Permanent displays will tell the story of St Albans district from the pre-Roman era through to modern times. The story starts in 110,000 BC, when hunter-gatherers first arrived in Britain, and the museum will feature Roman treasures and evidence of Boudicca’s revolt in the city.
Visitors will be able to learn about the city’s role in the War of the Rose and see how St Albans played a part in the lives of Sir Francis Bacon, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the Ryder Cup founder and former mayor Samuel Ryder, and the more recent local figures Stephen Hawking, Stanley Kubrick and Jim Rodford.
When the museum opens it will feature its flagship exhibition ‘First Impressions’, telling the story of St Albans’s printing industry.
The Grade II* listed Town Hall was built in 1831, and the museum will be set over three floors, with a number of restored historic spaces including the assembly room, courtroom and prison cells, as well as newly created galleries to host exhibitions and events.
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Glazed links have been added to the first floor enabling visitors to walk around the entire building and take in views of the city, a basement gallery has been excavated under the building to host national touring exhibitions and art shows and the ground floor has been renovated to accommodate a learning studio, visitor information point, gift shop and cafe.
Richard Shwe, the district council’s deputy chief executive of commercial and development, said: ““This project to create a wonderful new museum and gallery for St Albans District is finally coming to fruition.
“It has taken years of planning and hard work to transform the beautiful old Town Hall right in the heart of the City into an amazing museum and gallery.”