Byline: By Peter Young
As crowds pack the Hancock to see the Dinosaurs, plans to create a world showcase museum complex in Newcastle have been unveiled.
The pounds 36 million project includes a complete revamp of the Hancock, near the Haymarket, already one of the country's leading natural history museums.
The scheme also involves bringing together collections at the nearby Museum of Antiquities, Hatton Gallery and Shefton Museum, at Newcastle University, into one complexes.
The University buildings, in Claremont Road, will be linked to the Hancock by a footbridge and the complex will be called the Great Museum for the North. Popular exhibitions like the Dinosaurs, presently pulling in the crowds, have already turned the Hancock into a top family attraction.
But the other museums are little known outside academic circles, although they have collections of international importance.
The project is a huge boost for the NewcastleGateshead Culture10 project, which aims to place the area on the world map, attracting investment of pounds 1.2 billion and creating 24,000 jobs by 2010.
An application has been made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for pounds 18 million and assessors have visited Newcastle. …