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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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New-look Cumbrian museum revealed after £2m revamp

The first sight of a new-look Keswick Museum has been revealed after a £2 million improvement project.

Keswick museum photo

The museum, on Station Road, has undergone a two-year renovation thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Allerdale Council and others. It now features a permanent display from its collections reflecting the landscape, natural history, social history and art of Keswick and the North Lakes.

There is also a temporary exhibition of artworks chosen by local people.

A special open day was held yesterday when invited guests got the first chance to see the new displays, which have been five years in the planning before building work got underway.

They include a changing exhibition by Mountain Heritage Trust which explores the impact of World War One on the climbing community including the life of Siegfried Herford and the photography of the local Abraham brothers.

There is now also a learning centre with a programme of activities and a space to hire.

West House has joined forces with the museum to provide a branch of its Cafe West in the building, which opened in April.

The museum’s north west boss, Sara Hilton, said it had been “revitalised.”

“This project will create new opportunities for visitors to explore the museum collections, giving more people the chance to learn about the fascinating social and cultural history of the area,” she said.

Friends of Keswick Museum chairman Audrey McKinnon said: “It is now nine years since the future of the museum appeared bleak with closure a distinct possibility. We are absolutely delighted at the outcome of all the work.”

The work was funded by £1.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £310,000 from Allerdale council and £35,00 from Cumbria Fells and Dales Local Action Group via the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in association with Defra.

Friends of Keswick Museum and local organisations and individuals have also donated or pledged money towards match funding to make the project possible.

Keswick Museum was opened by the Literary & Scientific Society in 1898 in the current building.

The art gallery was added in 1905 featuring fittings by the renowned Keswick School of Industrial Arts.

The museum will open from 10am to 4pm daily throughout the year thanks to a volunteer front-of-house team supported by staff.

A family and friends annual pass is available.

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