Boost for Hitchin Town Hall and North Herts museum project

A MULTI-MILLION pound project which will create a new museum for North Hertfordshire was given a major boost today (Friday), in the form of a lottery grant.

The museum, which will be located at Hitchin Town Hall, is part of a �4.23m project to create a district museum, while keeping the historic building for community use.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) announced today that it has been granted �123,000 development funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). It is now in a position to apply for more than �830,000 for the actual fit out of the museum.

“We are delighted that the lottery fund has given us this support. It helps bring us one step closer to achieving our vision of creating a modern accessible museum that plays an active role in the life of the district,” said Cllr Tricia Cowley, portfolio holder for community engagement.

“The grant will ensure we can effectively safeguard the heritage of North Herts that we look after and will help inspire a passion for that heritage among visitors, the local community, volunteers and staff.”

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The �123,000 will fund the appointment of a specialist designer to ensure the museum is fit for purpose, as well as an audience development officer to involve the community.

That initial grant acts as a first-round pass, paving the way for NHDC to apply for the further funding. It has two years to do so.

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David Leal-Bennett, director of Hitchin Town Hall Ltd, said: “This is excellent news for the overall scheme to restore the historic listed Hitchin Town Hall to its former glory alongside a first-class museum.

“We hope that Hitchin Town Hall will become a real focal point for the community.”

Plans for the museum include improved physical access, modern displays, and learning and activity space for schools and special interest groups.

There will also be opportunities for volunteers of all ages.

“We are excited about this project which has the potential to create fantastic new opportunities for visitors to engage with these special collections,” said Roy Swanstone, from the HLF East of England committee.

“People will have the chance to explore their local heritage and bring their stories to life. There is still work to be done in developing the project, but HLF will be offering their full support in taking their application further.”

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