Making Space for Our History

Article excerpt

WORK has begun to improve important gallery space at one of the North-east's best loved museums.

Niven Architects of Darlington has been appointed to design the scheme that will provide two large exhibition areas on the first floor at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

The pounds 450,000 project, which will see the creation of a new gallery to display the best of the museum's collection of British decorative arts is due to be completed next year.

The scheme also includes a re-design of the gallery used for temporary exhibitions, including a new storage area, and a revamp of the first floor toilets to bring them in line with the new facilities recently created on the ground floor.

Simon Crowe, a director of Niven Architects, explained: "The refurbishment is the fourth phase of major improvement works at the museum, some of which we have worked on previously.

"Many visitors will be familiar with the first floor exhibition galleries.

"The scheme is a complete refurbishment that includes the latest lighting and heating to provide the best environmental conditions for exhibitions and to enhance the experience of visitors in the future.

"We are delighted to be working once again with The Bowes and to be involved in the modernisation of the gallery space."

Vivien Vallack, head of exhibitions at the museum, said: "The new British Decorative Arts gallery will give us the chance to display and interpret this varied collection in a completely fresh way, and the improved temporary exhibitions gallery will provide an excellent facility in which to present our ambitious rolling programme of temporary shows. …