Vital lottery boost for Norfolk museum’s expansion plan
06:00 22 March 2014
A Norfolk museum has won National Lottery support for its project to build a special archive centre to house “significant peices” of the nation’s maritime heritage.
The Sheringham Museum has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build its ‘Atlantic 75 Seaside Education and Archive Centre’ - it was announced today.
The project aims to convert the flat roof area on top of ‘The Mo’ building on Sheringham’s East Promenade, where the museum is currently based, into a state of the art archive and education facility to help protect, display and collect the unique
maritime and social history of the town.
Development funding of £85,000 has been awarded to help the museum get plans together to apply for a full grant at a later date.
This will involve the museum designing over 200 square metres of new public space and applying for the necessary planning permissions, as well as preparing and delivering a conservation and education plan around the recently acquired former Sheringham B702 Atlantic 75 Lifeboat and other marine archaeological items recovered during the construction of the Sheringham Shoal windfarm.
That lifeboat, donated to the museum by ‘The Oddfellows’ with who she shares her name with, turns 20 years old this year, but is not currently on public display.
Museum manager Philip Miles said: “The museum has been given the unique opportunity to preserve and display significant pieces of Britain’s maritime heritage.
“Our current premises can’t support this essential growth to our collection as the original ‘Mo’ building was never designed to be a museum and is now at capacity.
“With the support given by the HLF, we will be able to develop, display and care for our collections further, creating something quite special, not just for Sheringham and Norfolk but for the whole of the UK.”
Robyn Llewellyn, head of heritage in the East of England said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting The Mo at this stage in their planning; the story of lifeboats, those who operated them and the lives they saved is central to the identity of the town. This grant will help them to develop their plans further and we look forward to seeing how their ideas take shape.”
The museum is independent and volunteer-led. Those volunteers will be gathering oral histories of those who served aboard (and were rescued by) the Atlantic 75.
Several local schools will also be helping conserve a concreted Cannon and Anchor which had been sitting on the seabed off Sheringham for hundreds of years.
Volunteers for the project will now need to be recruited and the museum will be hosting a number of ‘drop in’ information sessions in May and June where people can learn more about the redevelopment plans and sign up to help with the project.
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