POOLE Museum is set to be transformed into an “outstanding cultural centre” and “community hub” following a £2.24 million grant to aid a renovation project.

A donation from the National Lottery Heritage Fund represents a “significant” part of the total project budget of more than £4.3 million to renovate Poole Museum.

The ‘Our Museum: Rediscovering Poole’s Maritime Heritage’ project will enable the conservation and restoration of the at-risk Grade I Wool Hall, making the medieval building accessible to the public with a completion target of spring 2024.

Three new galleries will showcase Poole’s significant maritime and pottery collections. New visitor facilities and better access for all are also integral to the plans. The transformed museum will be at the heart of Poole’s Quay Quarter, enriching the experience of Poole Quay and The Old Town for visitors and residents.

Bournemouth Echo: The team at Poole Museum ahead of a multi-million pound refurbishment. Picture: BCP CouncilThe team at Poole Museum ahead of a multi-million pound refurbishment. Picture: BCP Council

Work on the project will start in early 2022 with the museum expected to close at the end of the year for building and structural work. During this period, the museum will take to the road through a programme of outreach and events.

Councillor Beverley Dunlop, member for culture and vibrant places, said: “We are overjoyed that the outstanding Poole Museum has been awarded this fantastic amount of funding to help finance this important cultural project. I would like to say a huge thank you to the community, the project and museum team, and everyone else who has committed to making this happen.

“It is their dedication, passion and hard work that has resulted in this grant funding. The further development of Poole Museum is a significant project in the transformation of the Quay and Lower High Street as a flourishing and vibrant historical waterfront that reflects our ambitious vision for Poole.”

With approximately 200,000 annual visitors, Poole Museum is one of the most popular museums in the region.

Stuart McLeod of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “As well as enabling restoration work for the at-risk Grade I Listed Wool Hall, the project will connect communities to their heritage by adding personal perspectives to the collections and opening up the museum’s stories for even more people to enjoy.”

Opened in 1989, Poole Museum tells the story of the Dorset town and its people. A previous refurbishment took place in 2005 at a cost of £1.3 million and was also partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.