Progress is being made, main building work complete.

Following work over the winter to build our 2-storey extension at the rear of the building, we look forward to the next stages of preparing to re-open the Museum and expanding our work out into the community by providing new displays and activities.  We are hampered by the lockdown and COVID restrictions for volunteers in being ready when we had first hoped, but please keep checking the website for the latest news.

Dr Murray Rose, Chairman of the Trustees says “The actual building phase of our Expansion Project, part-funded by the National Lottery, is now completed, with our contractors having left in early February.  It went very well and ran to time despite the pandemic causing an additional dimension which hadn’t been anticipated before we started.”

“We now move on to finishing the electrics and heating in the new extension, and  joiners installing a staircase and gallery doors. This leaves the painting and some door hanging to be completed by ourselves, before carpets are finally laid.  These tasks can be done alongside cleaning, painting, and re-instating displays in the “old” building.  As soon as COVID restrictions are eased, volunteers are looking forward to being allowed back into the building to start on their work.”

Volunteers are now planning and looking forward to re-instating the exhibits.  They suspect that whatever else 2021 brings, it will involve a lot of cleaning and moving things!

Our extension will enable us to:

  • Tell new stories about Beaminster and its surrounding villages, and for existing ones to be told in a new and better way
  • Host groups of all ages and interests – from school visits to memory cafés for the elderly – much more effectively
  • Carry out research – family history or otherwise – in a more conducive environment
  • React more quickly and effectively to whatever the future holds.

The final agreed design with the West Dorset District Council  is  far from a replication of a 200-year old building style. The preservation of the rear façade will be achieved by a glass link affording a view of the old building and parts of Beaminster. The unusual shape of the rear plot posed problems which will be solved by the use of a zinc raised-seam roof in the place of slate. The Exhibition gallery will be timber-framed, clad in a yellow stock brick, matching well the stone of the existing museum.  Though the extension will be small, it will be a talking point of which we shall be deservedly proud”.