MP backs new museum for Arundel

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has pledged his support for efforts to build a new museum in Arundel.

Plans for a new museum were formally approved by Arun District Council in March and efforts are now focusing on the need to raise £1.6 million for the project.

£300,000 has already been pledged by Arun District Council and campaigners hope that, if their fundraising appeal is successful, building work could begin as early as 2010.

The new museum, designed by GWP Architects of Burgess Hill, will be built next to the Mill Road Car Park opposite the Castle gate.  The flint-faced building will have a sailing theme to reflect its proximity to the River Arun and will include a covered entrance, foyer and visitor information centre, reception, offices, exhibition gallery, education and lecture room, storage and conservation areas.

The museum is planning to mount a permanent display on ‘The Story of Arundel' and lay on a varied programme of talks, exhibitions, town walks and trails, educational activities, special events and publications, whilst maintaining its core responsibility to preserve the collections for future generations.

The new facilities will enable the museum to provide better access to its unique collections, which stretch back 2,000 years, and reach a wider audience of local residents, schools, researchers and visitors from the UK and across the globe.

Arundel Museum first opened in 1963 and moved to its premises at 61 High Street in 1977.  It moved to temporary accommodation, known as ‘The History Store', in the Mill Road Car Park in March 2008 and received 6,000 visitors during its first season. 

The museum is a registered charity, run by the Arundel Museum Society, and relies solely on volunteers.  It is funded by subscriptions, donations and the proceeds of fundraising events.

Arundel Museum Society Chairman Pauline Carder commented: "This is a very exciting time for the Museum Society and I'm very grateful to Nick, our local MP, for supporting our project to redevelop the museum. 

"We have several things in place now.  The success of The History Store shows that we have a very good site and I'm grateful to the Angmering Park Estate and the Norfolk Estate for giving us the land.  We also have the architectural plans drawn up, which have now been approved. 

"We do, however, still have a huge amount of work ahead of us before the first brick is laid and it will all depend on raising the funds.  I would therefore urge everyone to support us in this challenging task so that Arundel can have a purpose built museum which will be a huge asset to the town, and will benefit both local residents and tourists alike."

Nick Herbert commented: "Arundel is a special town with a rich and varied history.  I'm supporting this project not just because I live in the town, but because a new museum would be a marvellous resource for West Sussex and for the thousands of visitors who come here."

Mr Herbert added: "Obviously it's a challenge to raise over £1.5 million in the current economic climate, but the museum needs a permanent home and this would be a boost to local tourism.  So I'm keen to support the project in any way that I can."

Ends

 

Notes for Editors

1. For the website of Arundel Museum, visit http://www.arundelmuseum.org.uk/.

2. The Museum holds 2,000-3,000 artefacts, 2,000-3,000 photographs and around 900 documents, along with an extensive library, spanning 2,000 years of history. The Museum is currently hosting an exhibition describing the history of the Port of Arundel from its foundation in 1071 AD to its decline in the early 20th century. From 9 May 2009, a new exhibition will show where Roman remains have been found in and around Arundel.

3. The new museum will serve Arundel and the villages of South Stoke, North Stoke, Bury, Madehurst, Slindon, Binsted, Tortington, Lyminster, Poling, Warningcamp, Wepham, Burpham, parts of Ford and the fringes of Yapton and Walberton.

4. Anyone wishing to make a donation towards the redevelopment project can contact the Arundel Museum Society at Arundel Museum and Heritage Centre c/o The Town Hall, Maltravers Street, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9AP. A donation form is also available on their website at http://www.arundelmuseum.org.uk/downloads/donationform.pdf.

5. Details on how to join the Arundel Museum Society are available at www.arundelmuseum.org.uk/membership.html.

6. The photograph shows Nick Herbert (centre) examining plans for the new museum, taken outside The History Store with Deputy Mayor Anne Harriott and Graham Whitehouse of GWP Architects, Burgess Hill.

Ed Barker