New museum - next steps towards a destination to showcase and celebrate innovation, creativity and place

The Executive will consider the latest progress and next stage in transforming our museum into a major focal point for heritage and the arts at its next meeting on 19 March.

Lead Councillor for Skills, Arts and Tourism, Cllr Nikki Nelson-Smith says: "We aim to create a new attraction and cultural destination, based around an exciting and modern offer, which opens up the Castle Grounds and showcases our borough's tremendous story and collections. We are involving residents, organisations and businesses in our plans to make sure we offer national exhibitions, as well the best of Guildford's past, present and future. Their feedback has been an important part of the last year's work, as we continue to make progress on this long-term and complex project.

"We have a unique opportunity to provide a destination that recognises Guildford's status and position in our region and a new museum is part of a much bigger picture. It will provide a significant local and regional focus for heritage and the arts by linking with a wide variety of our own and other attractions across our area. Celebrating Guildford's amazing innovation, creativity and achievements, from the past wool trade to satellite technology and the thriving gaming industry, will attract more visitors and boost our local economy. A vibrant cultural space also encourages inward investment and interest from new companies looking for a great place to locate their business and workforce."

Regeneration of Guildford Museum is a complicated and challenging process, and projects of this scale, aspiration and investment take time and involve many different partners and stakeholders. Work so far has focussed on shaping the stories the museum will tell, ideas for events and activities, analysis of the site feasibility and developing a sustainable model for the future, all based on extensive audience research.

Cllr Nelson-Smith adds: "Demonstrating new and inventive ways to share our arts and heritage is just one strand of our ongoing innovation theme. Our innovation strategy, which will also be considered at next week's Executive meeting, shows how we support, implement and encourage ground-breaking initiatives to benefit people across our borough."

The Executive will consider the external fundraising options and next steps towards a possible opening of a new attraction in the summer of 2023.

For more information about the Executive meeting on 19 March - or to watch the debate via our online webcast - please visit www.guildford.gov.uk/article/16717/Councillors-and-Decision-Making

Published Tuesday 12 March