Monmouth Museum could relocate to Shire Hall

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Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 5:59pm

By Emily Gill - Local Democracy Reporter

Monmouth Museum could be relocated to Shire Hall as part of a project, which could cost around £2.6 million.

A decision will be made next week on whether to close Monmouth Museum in Market Hall and to reopen areas of Shire Hall for public use. Both buildings have been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A report on the proposed plans says it would be “impracticable” for Monmouth Museum to reopen in Market Hall given the “tasks required to prepare for a move”.

It says: “It is therefore proposed that key areas of Shire Hall will reopen for public use, subject to any temporary opening or access restrictions required to allow the completion of the phase one provision incorporating the temporary museum displays.”

The report proposes a phased approach to the plan, which would see part of Shire Hall, incorporate Monmouth Museum.

Learning and community spaces would also be created in the building but this would not impact the Town Council, which resides in Shire Hall.

The report says: “This would allow for a new visitor flow on the ground floor, including creating community exhibition and learning spaces.

“The main displays on the first floor, would use the full room volumes and the circulation spaces.”

A feasibility study was given the go-ahead in December last year and the results found that Shire Hall is “suitable for museum use and the conversion can be achieved respecting the buildings historic importance and listing”.

Phase one of the plan includes providing security and environmental adaptations to Shire Hall, conserving collection objects for display and addressing the immediate storage needs.

This is expected to cost around £250,000 and should be completed later in 2021.

The report says: “It is anticipated that the combined facility and staffing will allow for extended opening hours compared to the current museum and the intention is to utilise the initial phase to explore options such as early evening opening.”

If given the go-ahead then Market Hall could be used as a hub for regional working.

A decision on whether to press ahead with the plans will be made by Monmouthshire council’s cabinet on Wednesday (June 9).

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