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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Museum opening countdown
Artist's impression of the new museum
The building is part of a 200m waterfront redevelopment
The countdown to the opening of the 31m National Waterfront Museum in Swansea has begun.

On Wednesday First Minister Rhodri Morgan flicked the switch giving power to the glass-fronted building in the city's maritime quarter.

When it opens in mid-2005, the building will tell the story of Wales' industrial and maritime heritage and its role in shaping today's economy and society.

The impressive structure is part of a 200m redevelopment of Swansea's waterfront area.

Switching on the power is a key milestone in the museum's development and I am delighted at the speed with which the building work is progressing
Rosemary Butler AM

The new building incorporates much of the Grade II listed warehouse which previously housed the Swansea Maritime & Industrial Museum.

A waterfront terrace overlooking the collection of historic ships will be added to its dockside frontage, with a glazed section leading to a series of new two-storey galleries clad in glass and slate.

It has been estimated that 55 jobs will be created and that it will help attract 250,000 visitors a year to the city.

Mr Morgan said: "Bringing it to life by switching on the power in this facility is a step back in time to our proud industrial past and a step forward for our heritage tourism industry.

"Wales is fortunate to have such a rich and diverse industrial history and heritage."

From a computer model of how the museum will look
The museum will have 15 themed sections to bring the industrial revolution to life

The National Museums & Galleries of Wales has described the development as a flagship - and it is the first to be built since it launched its free entry policy.

The new galleries will use extensive interactive computer technology to bring Welsh economic and social history to a 21st Century audience.

Exhibitions will be divided into themed sections, which combine to form a picture of how Wales came to be a powerhouse during the Industrial Revolution - and how it has developed since.

The project has received an 11m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Additional contributions have come from the Welsh assembly government, WDA, Wales Tourist Board, Swansea Council and the European Objective One programme.

Museum chairwoman Rosemary Butler AM, said: "This is a project of national and international significance.

"Switching on the power is a key milestone in the museum's development and I am delighted at the speed with which the building work is progressing."

Maritime museum wins Euro funds
20 Nov 02  |  Wales

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