VIDEO - A preview of new town museum - volunteer-run historic visitor attraction to officially open tomorrow as a community resource

After months of work the new Sleaford Museum will formally open tomorrow (Thursday) and The Standard has had a sneak preview.

After months of work the new Sleaford Museum will formally open tomorrow (Thursday) and The Standard has had a sneak preview.

Jacqui Cleaver, David Marriage,  Jan Spooner and Janice Smith. EMN-150331-121059001

Jacqui Cleaver, David Marriage, Jan Spooner and Janice Smith. EMN-150331-121059001

The Sleaford Museum Trust Project received a major award of £94,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to establish a local history museum in Sleaford. Added to that has been £8,630 from local authorities, organisations and townspeople.

The project is led entirely by local volunteers. The museum will tell the story of Sleaford and district through historic artefacts and photographs given to the Trust over many years.

The bid has been strongly supported by Sleaford Town Council, which leased the disused former public toilets on Monument Gardens, Southgate to the Museum Trust.

Funding support has also come from the county and district councils, LARC, Sleaford Town Fund, Sleaford REP Power Station Fund, Lincolnshire Agricultural Communities Fund, Sleaford and District Civic Trust, RAF Cranwell and Kesteven Rotary. Sleaford Town Council have also funded a new unisex public toilet at the other end of the building to be opened on the same day.

Chairman of the Museum Trust David Marriage said: “Throughout the project the Museum Trust has been working closely with Sleaford Town Council who appointed a town councillor as a liaison officer to work with the committee.”

He explained: “The collection began to be formed in the 1970’s, when local enthusiasts first recognised the historic significance of many of the town’s artefacts that had survived the centuries. A museum was opened in Market Place, however had to close within a few years.”

Since then, the archives have been stored in a variety of locations. The conversion project has taken around 18 months with all materials and services sourced locally where possible. The building was finished in January for fitting out and volunteer training.

It will be a ‘living museum’ with changing displays. The initial display features the main shopping street with artefacts from shops through the years. The front shop window can be made available to other local groups to tell their story. People can make suggestions about future display themes and add their information about exhibits.

Mr Marriage said: “The museum’s aim is also to foster closer ties with all the local schools and with many of the community groups. Education and training opportunities will be central to the new facility, and with the support and enthusiasm of local people, the museum will become an important contribution to the town’s heritage economy.”

Aiming for museum accreditation in the next two years, he said: “It could act as a signpost and a focus for people who want to learn more.”