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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 08:36 GMT 09:36 UK
Last chance to visit city museum
Hancock Museum
It will take three years to complete the work at the Hancock
A Tyneside museum closes its doors on Sunday in preparation for a three-year project to transform it into a world-class visitor centre.

The Hancock Museum will be revamped to host the 26m Great North Museum - which will combine collections from a number of museums in the city.

Staff are busy packing up items including a hippopotamus skull, while homes are found for snakes and insects.

People have until 1700 BST on Sunday to visit the museum for the last time.

Special relationship

The new complex is being billed as a flagship visitor attraction, incorporating collections from the Hancock Museum and the University of Newcastle's Museum of Antiquities, the Shefton Museum and the Hatton Gallery.

Steve McLean, curator of the Hancock Museum, said: "The Hancock, which first opened in 1884, has enjoyed a long and special relationship with the people of the North East."

The new museum will feature a large-scale interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, major new displays showing the diversity of animal and plant kingdoms, a planetarium, and a life-size T-Rex.

The Great North Museum project has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, TyneWear Partnership, One NorthEast, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Northern Rock Foundation.

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