THE spotlight was on the redevelopment of Ceredigion Museum which has seen visitors double in recent years on Thursday.
A five year project – costing £1.5million – has transformed the Aberystwyth museum internally and encouraged more of the community to get involved.
A project evaluation by Carreg Las was presented to a thriving communities scrutiny committee at Ceredigion County Council on May 30 by Carrie Canham, museum curator.
Mrs Canham told members that the initial revamp of the museum started with asking who came to the museum and who didn’t, as well as why and what could be done to improve things.
The Heritage Lottery funded ‘New Approches’ project created a new entrance, combined tourist information centre, shop and café with integrated community engagement projects.
These provided training and support to deliver fundraising activities, provide digital access to the people’s story of the Coliseum and heritage-related activities for young people and families, and offer workshops and events.
In 2018 there were 69,593 visitors to the museum, near to its aspiration of 70,000, and more than double the number before the redevelopment.
The estimated total visitor related expenditure impact was £732,350, generating £212,381 of Gross Value Added, the report adds.
Cllr Alun Williams said: “It’s changed it from a fusty place that’s only worth visiting once because it doesn’t change, into a really innovative, happening space where there’s constantly something different.”
People’s memories were recorded and the community got involved with creating the fabric of the refurb, leaving a “thumbprint” on the development said Mrs Canham.
The museum now has 71 fully trained volunteers, up from 12, with an active Friends Council.
With more than 50,000 items in the museum collection the next phase of development will focus on storage, with public access, which “I envisage as an Aladdin’s cave” of artefacts and memories.
The museum “not only fulfils all its briefs, it excels them,” said Cllr Gareth Lloyd, who was the cabinet member responsible at the start of the project.