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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Maritime Museum gets go-ahead
Swansea Maritime Museum
Swansea Maritime Museum will be redeveloped
A multi-million scheme to house Wales's national maritime museum in Swansea has been approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The city was chosen three years ago as the 30m home for the museum, and plans are well under way to house up to 200,000 artefacts at the marina site.
Mike Lewis and the Helwick lightship
Mike Lewis and the Helwick lightship

The second stage of the 10.63m lottery bid was given the go-ahead on Thursday.

Building work on the new museum will begin in early 2003 and doors will open in 2006.

The bid is the largest museum development in Wales since the 20m National Museum extension project in Cardiff in the 1980s.

It is the largest single Heritage Lottery Fund grant made in Wales.

Professor Tom Pritchard, the HLF trustee for Wales said: "Wales is often credited as the first industrial nation in the world and Swansea had a key part to play in that.


Personalising history will appeal to a wider range of people, connecting with their lives.

Mike Lewis, curator Swansea Maritime Museum

"The creation of a national waterfront museum in Swansea will provide the people of Wales and visitors alike with a facility in which they can see, touch and interact with the very machines that propelled Wales on to the world stage as a great industrial nation."

Swansea Maritime Museum curator Mike Lewis said the new centre would be "bigger, better and bolder" than the ill-fated museum in Cardiff Bay, which closed without a new home to go to in 1998.

"It is a museum on a scale we have not been able to plan for in the past, which makes this all very exciting," said Mr Lewis.

"There will be a very wide range of exhibits, but the museum will focus on the people's stories particularly and be very interactive.

The former Maritime Museum in Cardiff
The former Maritime Museum in Cardiff

The new-look centre will make use of the existing building and a new site will be built alongside it, next to Swansea Leisure Centre.

While work is ongoing, the museum will keep the tram shed open and the ships in the dock will serve as a temporary attraction for visitors.

There are currently 20,000 exhibits in the Swansea Maritime Museum collection, but the new site could house up to 200,000 items - including important photographs and documents - from the national collection.

The new maritime museum will come under the control of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and end four years of uncertainty about a home for the national collection of artefacts.

In June 1999, the Welsh Office rejected criticism of the demolition of the Cardiff Bay site in a damning report by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee.

The Cardiff maritime museum had hosted a number of exhibitions, including a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the car in Wales.

It held permanent exhibits illustrating the history of Wales's industrial docklands and coal mining in the Valleys.

The collection has been housed at Nantgarw near Cardiff since the closure.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

18 Apr 00 | Wales
31 Mar 00 | Wales
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