Living Museum Expands

Another gleam of light in the gloom of economic cutbacks for local culture and museums is the announcement that the Beamish Museum in Co. Durham is actually expanding. This is from the i 5 April.

An award-winning “living museum” that replicates what working live was like in times gone by is set for a £17m expansion in a bid to draw in an extra 100,000 visitors a year. A proposal by Beamish Museum … to build a 1950s village and a Georgian coach house are due to go before planning chiefs today. … Beamish, which pulled in a record 670,000 visitors last year, has been named large visitor attractions the year at this year’s Visit England Awards for Excellence. Around 96 full-time jobs and 50 apprenticeships will e create debt he expansion scheme, which has received initial support with a £10.7m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.Other cash has been donated from foundations and trusts, with the museum to fundraise for the remaining £2.4m.

Richard Evans, the Beamish’s director said “Over the next 5 years, the museum will be transformed, creating new ways for people to enjoy the heritage of the North-east. We chose the 1950s for out latest development because i was a time of huge change for people in the region. It’s a time that it still within living memory for a lot of people in the area and that is hugely important s they can bring their own memories and enjoy the experience of their childhood.”

Beamish Museum has been extended several times since it opened in 1970, but the latest expansion will be the biggest in its 46-year history. The 1950s village will include terrace houses, shops, a boring pavilion, and a recreation ground. It will also be home to an old cinema which is being moved to Beamish from Sunderland.

an 1820s area will also be built, which will include a coaching inn, a windmill, a blacksmith’s shop, a lime kiln and a thatched cottage. .. also a working farm.

Councillors have been recommended to approve the plans, which will also see the museum expand its projects for people with dementia.  Mr Evans said: “Visitors will be able to explore the world of their grandparents – and note the huge changes to people’s lives that took place in the decade of recovery that followed the Second World War.”


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