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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 April 2006, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Work to start on 'super museum'
Hancock Museum
It will take three years to complete the work at the Hancock
Final preparations are being made for a three-year transformation of a Tyneside natural history museum into a regional cultural centre.

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

Visitors are being warned that their last opportunity to visit the Hancock will be over the Easter holidays.

It will close its doors on 23 April with the new site opening in 2009.

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.

Special relationship

Steve McLean, curator of the Hancock Museum, said: "This is a very exciting time for the Hancock Museum.

"The Easter holidays mark the end of an era and we are hoping that visitors will take the opportunity over the next two weeks to explore the museum for the final time."

"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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