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New heritage project to preserve and showcase county's past

Posted on Tuesday 31st January 2023
Victoria Wilson and Joanna Terry NR

County Cllr, Victoria Wilson with the Head of Archives & Heritage, Joanna Terry

Over a thousand years of the county’s history is being brought to life in an exciting new heritage project for Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire History Centre project has been made possible thanks to a grant of 4,858,699 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will include a new £5.4m history centre in Eastgate Street in Stafford and an ambitious four year programme of activities that will engage new audiences whilst connecting visitors and residents with family and local history.

The new centre will see an extension to the existing Staffordshire Record Office, whilst incorporating the heritage building that formerly housed the William Salt Library.  A modern glazed entrance will link both buildings, creating a bright exhibition space to showcase museum, archive, and William Salt library collections. Additional strong rooms will provide space for a further 55 years of collections.

A series of behind the scenes tours, history days, exhibitions and family activities are already underway, helping to get more people interested in the county’s history. Since the start of April 2022, over 50 events, activities and workshops have taken place, engaging just over 1,000 people, and a varied outreach programme is planned for 2023.

A Case for the Ordinary touring exhibition is currently on display at the Nicholson Museum and Art gallery in Leek and will be the opening exhibition at the new history centre.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council said: “We’re all incredibly proud of our history and wonderful collections and we want to be able to share them with many more people.

“The new centre in the heart of Stafford will give us an amazing attraction whilst allowing us to bring together our fascinating collections.  On top of this, a dedicated programme of touring exhibitions will also help take the Staffordshire story out into local communities, helping to get more people interested in our fascinating history.”

The total cost of the project is now £8,780,239 with a grant of £4,858,699 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.  Additional match funding of £3,921,540 was raised by the partnership, including Staffordshire County Council funding, grants, donations from local organisations and friends and in-kind contributions from volunteers.

Construction work on the centre is due to start in February.

An update on the project will be presented to the Staffordshire Prosperous Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Friday, 3 February 2023.

Further details on the project are available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives/Staffordshire-History-Centre For details of events & activities subscribe to the Archive & Heritage Service newsletter here https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives/services/newsletters.aspx


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