Summer Opening For New Wandsworth Museum

Signing of 20 year lease brings opening one step closer

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This paves the way for the museum to open its doors to members of the public early this summer from its new premises in the former West Hill library building.

In addition, a 50 year loan agreement has also been signed for the use of the 10,000 historical and cultural artefacts that have been collected by the council over the decades.

Museum staff will now finalise internal refurbishment works on their new home ahead of the formal opening, which is expected to take place in May or early June.

The new museum is an independent trust which was formed following a generous donation of £2m from the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.

Council leader Edward Lister said, "The final legal hurdle has now been cleared and the preparations are now in full swing for a summer opening of this exciting new museum.

"The new museum is going to be very different to the one it replaces. It will offer a much more exciting and interactive learning experience for local people and schools. There will be so much more to it than simply putting artefacts in glass cases or on shelves.

"We had a foretaste recently of the kind of exciting initiatives the new museum has in store when they helped recreate the Blitz experience for local schoolchildren in an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of the evacuations that occurred at the beginning of the Second World War. Like most people I can’t wait for it to open in its new permanent home.  None of this would have been possible however without the kind generosity of the Hintze family who are putting a huge sum of money into this exciting new museum venture."

Dorothy Hintze, Chairman of the Museum said: "It has been a real privilege to be able to do something like this for the community. Our children grew up enjoying the wonderful benefits the old museum provided and we feel it is only right this legacy is built on and passed to future generations. We trust the new Wandsworth Museum will become a much loved and well used institution for the borough."

Under the terms of the new lease, the council will charge no rent on the museum's use of the building for five years. After this the rental sum paid to the council each year will be around £200,000.  The Council inform us that the old museum in Garrett Lane costs taxpayers around £230,000 a year.

March 12, 2010