Fusiliers on target for £3.1m museum

From http://www.thisisbury.co.uk (sadly their stories do not have a unique URL, so I have posted this in full)

A REGIMENT with a proud tradition in Bury hopes to achieve one of the most significant victories in its history by clinching vital lottery funding for its new £3.1 million museum.

If the Heritage Lottery Fund endorses a £2 million grant in June, then this will leave the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers with £1.1 million to raise. And this week it was announced that its Appeal Fund has already reached the £250,000 mark.

Just a year ago, the regiment was awarded a project planning grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to explore the potential of moving their museum from its out-of-town and cramped location at the Wellington Barracks in Bolton Road to the now-empty Arts and Crafts Centre in Broad Street.

After nine months of development work, led by Colonel Brian Gorski, a funding bid for £2 million was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in December.

The Fusiliers plan to completely modernise the museum, improve the collection's care and provide research and educational facilities for the whole community. The new museum is scheduled to open its doors in autumn 2007. The total cost of the relocation is £3.1 million.

Col Gorski said: "This project will add significantly to the quality of life in Bury and the region, to the town's tourist appeal and its education facilities."

Commenting on the Appeal Fund's £1.1 million target, he added: "Raising this money will be hard work ó it is a task we are equal to. But we will need the support of the whole Bury community to help us do it."

Details of the project have been carefully worked out by a consultancy team, led by Rosemary Allen of Headland Design Associates, and includes conservation architects and museum development experts. There has been wide consultation within the Regiment and with potential visitors, researchers, volunteers and partners.

Bury Council is leasing the building to the Fusiliers at a peppercorn rent and will be providing an annual funding grant of £30,000. Many members of the community, who have close ties with the Regiment, have made generous donations, some in memory of dads, uncles and grandfathers who fought or were lost in the Great War.

The former Arts and Crafts Centre building will be completely renovated, preserving its important historic features and bringing it back into use in the heart of the town's cultural quarter. An extension will be added to the rear, creating a new entrance in Moss Street, opposite the Art Gallery and Museum.

The new museum will provide space to display the Regiment's collections to high standards. There will be exhibition galleries, education and meeting spaces a gift shop and stylish cafe accessible directly from the street. It is designed to be welcoming and friendly and what's more, it will be free.

As well as telling the story of the Fusiliers, the museum will celebrate the history of the Arts and Crafts Centre and several important pieces of memorabilia from more than 100 years of education will be displayed.

Museum curator Mike Glover said: "There will be lots of museum objects on display and lots of human stories and interactive exhibits to bring them to life. We plan to fulfil the potential that regimental collections have to tell stories about the world and about people in the past, as well as the unique story of our Regiment."

The Fusiliers have set up a fundraising committee and made a good start in already achieving £250,000 towards the £1.1 million needed to match the lottery money.

The campaign is now looking to approach local and regional businesses. Company leaders and representatives will be invited to presentations about the new museum which is offering to name some of its facilities, such as the archive and research room, in return for sponsorship and support.

Fundraising activities such as golfing competitions, quizzes, themed dinners and book sales will take place throughout the spring and summer. Cadets and volunteers will also be attending local events and manning displays in the Mill Gate and Drill Hall to publicise the project and to ask for donations.

People can make a contribution by contacting Mike Glover on (0161) 764 2208 or by visiting the museum or www.fusiliersmuseum-lancashire.org.uk instead.

o A new Friends Group has been established to support the museum which will help with conservation work and support fundrasing.

A fundraising campaign office will soon be opening at the Arts and Crafts Centre to manage the administration.

New recruits, who can spare a few hours a week, are needed. Contact Anna Bowman on (0161) 764 2208.