Cirencester’s Corinium Museum has received substantial financial support from the National Lottery for a £1.3 million project – “Stone Age to Corinium: Discover the Archaeology of the Cotswolds”. The project will create new Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Roman interactive galleries along with a new Discovery Centre and garden. Objects that are currently in storage will be conserved and put on display for the first time, including rare stone and bone tools, rock art, and beakers. This will help the museum to tell a new story about the pre-Roman occupation of the Cotswolds and support a wide range of activities, including the new prehistory curriculum.
Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded funding of £676,900 to help the Corinium Museum turn their plans into a reality. The HLF has been a long-term supporter of the Museum, having previously funded a major project at the site in 2001. Now this National Lottery support can help revitalise these important galleries, creating many more opportunities for local people and visitors alike to see more fascinating objects that tell the story of the Cotswolds through the early periods in our history.
The project will focus on the Grade II listed Abberley House, and the development will be sympathetic to the building’s heritage features, opening up the original shutters and restoring its aspect as a prominent Georgian town house. Located at the front of the building will be the new Discovery Centre, which will be a dedicated space for engaging in the museum programme. This will include school workshops covering the new curriculum Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age topics; archaeological workshops and practical demonstrations of ancient crafts; a research area for staff and volunteers working with museum objects; and a space for popular holiday activities.
Amanda Hart, Museum Director, said:
“This project has been a long time in the planning so we’re delighted that the National Lottery has given us this support. This project will transform the front part of the Museum, creating a warm welcome for visitors and stunning new galleries which highlight the star objects from the prehistoric Cotswolds. The Discovery Centre will be an inspirational learning space for a diverse range of activities to be enjoyed by all our visitors”.
Cotswold District Council owns the Museum, and the Council’s Head of Leisure and Community Services, Diana Shelton, looks forward to a bright future:
“The Council has provided £50,000 towards this exciting project, and we are very pleased that it has received such a generous grant from the National Lottery.”
“The Museum is world renowned because it holds such large and internationally significant collections which shed light on important archaeological achievements that span earliest human occupation and continue through to the 20th century.
“We hope that this exciting project will provide a draw for residents and visitors alike, especially as they will be able to view exhibits previously stored away, and see the work of conservators and other support staff at close quarters for the first time.”