An opening date has been revealed for the newly revamped Northampton museum, which has more than doubled in size.
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery in Guildhall Road will reopen to the public on July 10 this year after it had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Following an extensive £6.7 million expansion and redevelopment programme, which began in 2018, the opening has been timed to coincide with the school summer holidays.
The museum now has the addition of a nine-metre-high glazed atrium extension, linking the original building to brand new galleries and activity space.
In the atrium there is a café and an outdoor terrace, which sits above the new shoe gallery, showcasing Northampton’s shoe collection and the town’s shoemaking heritage.
Nick Gordon, cultural services manager at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “We’re really excited to announce these opening dates after such long periods of closure following redevelopment and the pandemic and very pleased that we can open in time for the schools summer break to meet peak demand.
“Visitor safety is our number one priority and we’re making sure that our museums conform to best practice Covid safety measures, with all staff fully trained to ensure that visitors have a safe visit and the best possible experience.
“Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is a significant addition to the area’s cultural life and provides an impressive new focal point for art, heritage and culture, in the heart of Northampton’s expanding Cultural Quarter.
“Visitors can discover our internationally important shoe collection, explore the town’s rich history, and experience an ever-changing programme of art, activities, events and temporary exhibitions - we can’t wait to welcome people back.”
Three opening temporary exhibitions will feature alongside the permanent galleries at 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.
The town’s second museum in the grounds of historic Abington Park will also reopen next weekend (May 22) with Covid-safe measures, including one- way systems, hand sanitising stations and social distancing.
For those preferring to take a virtual look around the museums, virtual tours can found on the Northampton Museums website.