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Northampton Museum and Art Gallery set to reopen

Published: Thursday, 08 July 2021

The Museum's Link space

The Museum's Link space

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery will reopen to the public this Saturday 10 July at 10 am, following an extensive £6.7 million expansion and redevelopment programme, which began in 2017.

The museum on Guildhall Road, which will be open from 10am – 5pm Tuesday through to Saturday and from 12 -5pm on Sundays, has more than doubled in size, with the addition of a nine-metre-high glazed atrium extension linking the original building to brand new galleries and activity space. 

The spectacular atrium includes a café and spacious outdoor terrace, which sits above the new Shoe Gallery, showcasing Northampton’s internationally important shoe collection and the town’s shoemaking heritage
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, said: “After a long period of closure, we’re thrilled to be able to open the doors and welcome the public back into Northampton’s wonderful museum this Saturday. 

“The expansion and refurbishment has been a long journey, but our staff and partners have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, so I would like to thank them all for their dedication. 

“We’re certain that people from Northampton and beyond will enjoy the new-look museum, especially as many will remember childhood visits to see our unique shoe collection and learn about the town’s history - but don’t just take my word for it, please do come along and see for yourselves.” 

The museum recently won the Northamptonshire Heritage Forum’s ‘Heritage Organisation of the Year 2021’ award, for demonstrating innovation, creativity and problem solving. The entry demonstrated new digital engagement, new materials for future social historians and judges commended the team’s extremely hard work behind the scenes, while also maintaining the morale of volunteers throughout.

Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: “The museum and art gallery provides an impressive new focal point for art, heritage and culture, in the heart of Northampton’s expanding Cultural Quarter, and is a major addition to the area’s cultural offer. 

“We have a number of exciting new cultural projects which are approaching completion in the area, including the Vulcan Works and phase 2 of the museum expansion, which will include a new home for the NN Contemporary Art Gallery. 

“We’re also very pleased that we can open in time for the schools holidays, but visitor safety is our number one priority, so we’re making sure that the museum conform to best practice Covid safety measures to ensure that visitors have a safe visit and the best possible experience.”

Three opening temporary exhibitions will feature alongside the permanent galleries at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. ‘We Are Northampton’ explores the town’s heritage and character, through stories of notable residents, buildings, events, activities and clubs, while ‘Challenging Perspectives’ is an exhibition looking back at the life and work of notable and prolific artist Christopher Fiddes, who lives in the county. Finally, the ‘Inspiration’ exhibition examines the way artists look at the world around them and how this sparks their creative imagination.

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery also features an expanded museum shop, while the new selling gallery will be a wonderful showcase for artwork and crafts created by Northamptonshire artists and makers.
Those preferring to take a virtual look around can visit www.northamptonmuseums.com where they will find virtual tours of both Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Abington Park Museum, along with a wealth of information about the collections, exhibitions and facilities at the museums.

‘We’re Good to Go’-approved Covid-safe measures, including one-way systems, hand sanitising stations and social distancing as a dry run ahead of the main museum’s re-opening.

Tom Jagger, Lead Architect from GSS Architecture said: “We are delighted that this exciting public building can now re-open in its new form. 

“In addition to new and improved gallery spaces, areas for social interaction have been created which have transformed the building into a destination that will keep visitors engaged and coming back for repeat visits. 
“We are truly excited to see the public experience the building, as Northampton town centre continues to re-open, we believe that the expanded museum will assume a new, more central role as a community hub within the developing cultural quarter.”

Entry to the museum is free of charge, and doors will open at 10am until 5pm on Saturday. Please refer to the museum’s website for further details www.northamptonmuseums.com

To keep up to date with the latest news about Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Abington Park Museum, follow #StepInside on social media.