The St Barbe Museum in Lymington recently submitted a planning proposal in the hope that improvements can be made to the building and its surroundings.
Last year, the museum received £2 million support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will be used to pay for the major project. The plans include an updated entrance, terraced seating area, and addition of signs, which will be visible from the High Street. The unveiled artist’s impressions also show a wavy façade, which is thought to reflect the setting of the maritime town, which lies in the New Forest district.
A new and improved look to match the quality of exhibitions on the inside
It is hoped that this will give the building a strong visual identity, which would reflect the national standard of its content, which is also going to be improved with a new range of interactive displays and an easily accessible public archive. Currently, visitors can view the main gallery exhibition, collections relating to the coastal strip of the New Forest and displays which include a replica of a pilot boat wheelhouse.
The museum is very popular with those visiting the New Forest while staying in cosy Hampshire cottages, and is just one of the reasons many people are attracted to Lymington for a holiday. The building is not listed, although it is located in a strict conservation area, with the application for planning considered a major milestone in the museum’s 20-year history.
During a previous assessment by Visit England, the exterior of the St Barbe Museum was compared to that of a doctor’s surgery, and it was suggested that the porch did not reflect that the building was an art gallery. However, the museum itself still scored highly with 84 per cent, highlighting the importance of the planned works to improve the attraction further.