Published July 24, 2021 at 10:00
l to r : Tiffany Hunt MBE, Darren O’Toole, Alyson Barnes, Carl Bell, Gaynor Seville
The Whitaker Museum has celebrated the next exciting phase in its 119 year history, with the launch of a spectacular £2.2 million re-development.
Opening to the public on Saturday 24 July, this impressive re-development was unveiled yesterday to sponsors, staff, friends and volunteers, including representatives from The National Heritage Lottery Fund, Rossendale Borough Council and Rossendale Leisure Trust.
Carl Bell, Managing Director of The Whitaker Museum said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported our journey to achieving this fantastic, beautiful and inspiring space.
“With the support of The National Heritage Lottery Fund and Rossendale Borough Council, this amazing space will welcome audiences of all ages and backgrounds, bringing visual and creative arts to the people of Rossendale.
“It has been a wonderful, sometimes bumpy journey but this development signifies an exciting future for The Whitaker Museum. A place to celebrate our rich industrial heritage, explore new contemporary artists, whilst offering sensational social spaces for local people to enjoy.
“Richard Whitaker’s vision when he gifted the house and grounds to the people of Rossendale in 1902 was to enable cultural, educational and wellbeing opportunities for all, and that certainly is what our latest development does. We cannot wait to welcome people back.”
The new development has seen the museum double in size with the addition of new café and community space, extended exhibition areas and the refurbishment of the original house.
Tiffany Hunt MBE, Chair of The National Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Northern England, said: “Coming back to The Whitaker Museum was always going to be a pleasure but this re-development truly has exceeded our very high expectations.
“Imaginative, creative, versatile and a space that celebrates The Whitaker’s emotive sense of community. The quality of work is exceptional and I am confident that this space will be treasured for generations to come.
“It’s through people playing The National Lottery and the money tat raises from ticket sales that projects like this are made possible.”
Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Borough Council, said: “It has been a difficult decade for The Whitaker. Rescued from closure in 2013, this vibrant place needed creative partners that would transform the vision and maximise the museum’s full potential.
“That is absolutely what the team have achieved. The Whitaker is not just a museum but an important social and cultural piece of Rossendale’s history and people love coming here. I am sure they will be inspired, motivated and delighted by the wonderful new spaces and programme of events on offer.”
The Whitaker Museum re-opens its doors at 10am on Saturday 24 July.
The programme of events can be viewed online at https://www.thewhitaker.org