Chesterfield Museum is set to close in preparation for a multi-million-pound renovation project that will create an enhanced and improved customer experience.
It is the next step in the refurbishment of Chesterfield’s historic Stephenson Memorial Hall, which houses the museum and The Pomegranate Theatre.
Proposals for the renovation of the Grade 2 listed building are due to go before Chesterfield Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Monday 28 February and, if approved, the museum will close from Tuesday 1 March to begin the complex process of moving the historic collection into safe storage.
Councillor Kate Sarvent, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, explained: “Stephenson Memorial Hall is one of our most striking buildings and these exciting plans are set to make it even more memorable and enjoyable – creating a modern visitor experience in the heart of our town centre.
“Our wonderful museum is a central part of the building and we’re now preparing for the huge and complex task of moving thousands of treasured items that are in our local collections to a safe, temporary home. Subject to planning approval, the museum will close at the start of March, and building work is set to begin later in the year.”
Items in the collection will be securely stored in a controlled environment to ensure preservation. One of the signature pieces, the medieval builder’s wheel, will be stored with a specialist renovator who will clean it whilst work progresses in the building.
Councillor Sarvent added: “We’re working hard to make sure people will still be able to enjoy our theatre and museum attractions in new and innovative ways while the transformation of the building is carried out.
“Our team at the museum regularly host interactive activities and events to help all members of our community connect with our history and we’re exploring even more ways to do this over the coming years - you’ll be able to find out more about our plans on our website and social media pages soon.”
The project is projected to cost around £15 million with £11 million of funding being secured via the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. Chesterfield Borough Council has received almost £20 million through this Government fund, the other £8 million will be used to support and enhance the Revitalising the Heart of Chesterfield Project.
Together this funding will help ensure that Chesterfield is a vibrant market town by improving connections across the town centre and enhancing the visitor economy.
Under the plans the refurbished Stephenson Memorial Hall will bring together an extended Pomegranate Theatre, a reconfigured and modern museum, alongside new gallery space, a café bar, education and community facilities.
The work will also protect the Grade 2 listed building and ensure that it remains part of the borough’s heritage for many more generations to come.
Creating a more accessible experience is another key aim of the proposals. The plans include a new lift which would help disabled guests access the circle and upper museum floors and to compliment this there would be an increased number of wheelchair spaces within the theatre.
Also included in the plans are improvements to lighting, heating, and ventilation.
Revolution House, which tells the story of the Revolution of 1688, will reopen on Friday 15 April. The free museum will then be open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from 11am to 4pm until Sunday 18 September.
Whilst the Museum collection is moved the Pomegranate Theatre will continue to operate as normal and tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01246 345222 or by visiting the Chesterfield Theatres website.