Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Lottery support for revamp of museum at St Fagans

Cottages at St Fagans
The museum attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year

A history museum has reason to celebrate on St David's Day after clearing the first hurdle in its bid for an £8.7m lottery grant.

St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff applied for the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of a £20.75m redevelopment of the site.

The open-air museum has been awarded a "first round pass", which means it has up to two years to submit full plans.

Funding of £450,000 has been awarded to develop the proposals.

The 10-year plan includes introducing a national archaeology collection covering the 250,000 years of human inhabitation of Wales.

There are also proposals for more galleries, activity spaces and wet weather activities to turn St Fagans into a "year-round experience".

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of HLF, said: "It's fitting to announce HLF's initial support for St Fagans, a place which has contributed so much to the understanding of Welsh identity, on St David's Day."

The heritage attraction opened to the public in 1948 and pulls in 600,000 visitors each year.

PLANS FOR THE MUSEUM
A national archaeology collection and "extended time line" to cover the 250,000 years of human inhabitation of the geographical area now known as Wales.
Creating an indoor and outdoor "experience" within the wooded landscape of the site
An expanded programme of events and activities to reflect the extended time line covered on site, with the emphasis on "interactive experiences"
Allowing visitors to more easily enjoy St Fagans Castle and the historic landscape
Upgrading the visitor facilities to create a much higher level of "visitor comfort and enjoyment"

More than 40 original buildings from different periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland, including houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a workmen's institute.

The museum is in the grounds of St Fagans Castle and gardens, a late 16th Century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth.

There are also galleries with exhibitions of costumes, daily life and farming tools.

Museum director general Mike Houlihan said: "We aim to meet the highest of expectations through creating a truly year-round visitor attraction at St Fagans.

"It will present a strong message of change and national self-confidence by telling authentic and powerful stories and sharing an attractive range of experiences with the visiting public.

Heritage Minister Alun Ffred Jones said: "St Fagans has a very special place in the affections of the people of Wales.

"This redevelopment will retain what makes the site so unique and popular, while transforming it into a world-class visitor attraction.

"It will also act as a gateway to our history and culture for tourists visiting Wales."

Two other attractions cleared the first hurdle: the Grade I-listed Piece Hall in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and the treasury galleries at the Science Museum, London.



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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Attractions Management Three heritage projects receive HLF support - 18 hrs ago
South Wales Evening Post Museum moves closer to - 27 hrs ago
Wales Online St Fagans wins all-weather grant - 29 hrs ago


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