St Albans Museum + Gallery celebrating record visitor numbers over first year

St Albans Museum + Gallery on its opening weekend last year. Picture: Elyse Marks

St Albans Museum + Gallery on its opening weekend last year. Picture: Elyse Marks - Credit: Archant

St Albans Museum + Gallery celebrated its one year anniversary by announcing record visitor numbers.

More than 330,000 people visited the renovated Town Hall since it opened on June 8 last year, up 65 per cent on projected figures.

Ten thousand of those visitors arrived in the first three days following opening, and since then there have been 17 exhibitions and art installations and more than 135 events and activities.

Highlights include Liz West's Our Colour Reflection; a printing exhibition called First Impressions; and touring displays from the V&A and The Hayward Gallery.

The latest exhibition in the Weston Gallery, Barbara Hepworth: Artist in Society 1948-53, is the most successful to date.

Museums manager Kate Warren said: "It's great to see visitors regularly coming back to see what's new at the museum and even better seeing them get involved in all the events and activities."

St Albans Museum + Gallery hosted a first birthday party weekend over June 8 and 9, with free exhibitions and activities on offer as well as a free cupcake for the first 100 attendees.

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Portfolio holder for community, leisure and sport at St Albans district council (SADC), Cllr Anthony Rowlands, said: "St Albans Museum + Gallery has been a significant and popular addition to our city's heritage and artistic offering.

"The staff, admirably supported by our volunteers, have delivered a strong programme of events and activities. As a former history teacher, I am well aware of the value of an effective museum service."

St Albans Museum + Gallery has been nominated for 15 awards and won six of them.

Portfolio holder for business, culture and tourism, Cllr Mandy McNeil, added: "Our history and our cultural hubs have always attracted visitors, and it is great to see that St Albans has clearly got it right with this new museum and gallery and that it is attracting a significant number of visitors to our city, as well as providing a wonderful central place for the local community to enjoy regularly."

The renovation was funded with the help of a £2.8million National Lottery Heritage Fund, and donations from Arts Council England, the Garfield Weston Foundation and many other organisations and individuals through the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust.