Lyme Regis Museum extension works get underway
The museum’s galleries are now closed to the public while a much-needed extension, the Mary Anning Wing, is built.
Lyme Regis Museum, built on the site of the home of Mary Anning, is about to embark on the biggest adventure in its 114 years of existence.
Museum director David Tucker said: “The Mary Anning Wing will completely transform our museum. We’ll have a brand new gallery in which we’ll be able to display fossils discovered by Mary Anning and the other great collectors.
"We’ll also be able to do so much more for schools with a new learning space. On top of that we will have a meeting room, accessible stairs, a lift, a bigger shop and visitor toilets which we currently lack.”
Six companies, all of whom had to meet strict financial and technical conditions, were given the chance to tender to build the extension.
From these, Sidmouth-based Skinner Construction Ltd was chosen to construct the contemporary design featuring glass and zinc.
Skinner Construction Ltd's commercial director Andrew Sturgess said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed as the main contractor for the project.
"Whilst the project is fairly complex given its size and timescale, we are confident of its success and we look forward to working with Lyme Regis Museum.”
Mr Tucker added: “I was very impressed with Skinners. Their team clearly wanted this job, and grasped just how significant our museum is to Lyme Regis and the wider Jurassic Coast.
"It’s great that we’ve been able to choose a local company, who’ll be using Lyme people in their team.”
Large windows will allow the museum to take advantage of its wonderful coastal location, and zinc has been chosen not only because it blends sympathetically with the rooftops of Lyme, but also for its resistance to the corrosive effects of the sea.
At a cost of in the region of £1.5 million, the extension has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as by several major charities, the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum, Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council.
The extended museum will open in late-June 2017.
While the museum is closed, fossil walks, history walks and Mary Anning walks will all continue as usual. They can be booked online at www.lymeregismuseum.co.uk, by phone 01297 443370 or in the temporary museum shop in the nearby Guildhall.