Great news for Barnstaple and North Devon! By 2020 the Long Bridge Wing extension to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon will be up and running and we shall have a bigger, better museum with much improved facilities, enhancing the experience for all of our visitors and no longer “Bursting at the seams”. The new Social History Gallery will for example portray the life of North Devonians from the 19th to the 21stcentury, while with purpose built and environmentally controlled galleries, workshops and stores the museum will be able to conserve and display so much that now languishes in store.
We are able to be so assured because not only do we have the promise of over £1.6million from major funders the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Coastal Communities Fund and North Devon Council, but the Museum Development Trust has been successful in drawing in over 95% of the match funding that we undertook to find. Our first success came in the form of a grant of £50,000 from Fullabrook CIC. This was a huge help and a substantial statement of support and belief in the project, which enabled us to approach other national charities with confidence and which might, just might, have positively influenced their decisions. For example subsequently the Garfield Weston Foundation has donated £75,000 and the Foyle Foundation £25,000, both substantial and hugely welcome amounts of money. Just to assure all concerned we are still on the case with further applications to charitable bodies either in the pipeline or already submitted.
In addition we have enjoyed the enthusiasm and generosity of local businesses, local individuals and visitors to the museum. In an effort to close the last percentage gap, we have also run a crowdfunding campaign (http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/barnstaple-museum-long-bridge-wing). The chairman of Barnstaple and North Devon Museum Development Trust, Terry Green, and all the trustees would like to express their thanks to all the generous people who are making it possible to create in Barnstaple a major cultural attraction in the South West, to build on the foundation of the donation of the original building to the town by William Rock and to give Barnstaple the museum that it deserves.