£4 million Staffordshire History Centre plans on show for the first time
Plans for the £4 million Staffordshire History Centre have gone on show to the public for the first time.
The plans, being revealed at a series of events throughout September, include artist impressions and a 3D model of what the new centre could look like.
The new venue would be located on Eastgate Street in Stafford and will hold historical records and collections up to 1,000 years old.
It will also feature a community exhibition space, reading and search rooms and additional strong rooms, providing storage for an additional 25 years of future collections. A packed programme of activities is planned.
County councillor Gill Heath, cabinet member for communities, said there was 'real energy and enthusiasm' about the project and urged people to get along to one of the events.
She said: "This is a really exciting time for our service and it’s great to be able to share the plans. We are all very proud of our history and heritage here in Staffordshire and our new centre would help to take archives out into local communities and get more people interested in history.”
Plans will be available to see at Staffordshire Place 1, Stafford on Thursday between 10am and 5 pm. They will also be available on September 20, from 2pm to 6.30pm, and September 21, between 10am and 2pm.
Rare archives and museum pieces will be displayed in an exhibition space, and over six million records, documenting the lives of ordinary Staffordshire people will be available in the new centre and online.
Records currently held at the Lichfield Record Office and the William Salt Library will be moved into the new centre and more records will continue to be made available online. A new local and family history access point will also be created in Lichfield Library where people will be able to access a range of digital collections.
Mithra Tonking, chairman of the William Salt Library Trust, said: “We are delighted to be a major partner in this exciting development to provide a central research and learning point for Staffordshire¹s history. The project will also improve accessibility to and knowledge of the outstanding William Salt Library collection as well as securing the future of a significant and much loved listed building in Stafford.”
Funding of £333,400 for the development phase has already been received from the Heritage Lottery Fund with a second-round bid being submitted in March 2018. Work on the new centre could start as early as April 2019.
Vanessa Harbar, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the West Midlands, said: “It is great to see the plans for the new History Centre developing so swiftly. The project has the potential to bring the history of ordinary Staffordshire life to a large number of people, and we’re delighted that money from National Lottery players can help support it. We are looking forward to seeing the detailed proposals in due course.”