Priest's House Museum in Wimborne to be expanded

The Priest's House Museum and garden
Image caption The museum won an award for its learning services in 2008

Work to expand an award-winning Dorset museum is due to begin on Thursday.

A ceremony will be held to mark the start of the demolition of a number of outbuildings in the grounds of the Priest's House Museum, Wimborne.

This will make way for a timber framed, one-and-a-half storey "open learning centre", part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It has awarded £442,000 to the Priest's House Museum Trust, which is running the project.

The total cost of the work is £800,000, which includes a programme of activities aimed at encouraging groups to use and benefit from the centre.

Local fundraisers, a variety of organisations and charitable foundations, East Dorset District Council and Dorset County Council have also contributed towards to the cost.

'Training opportunities'

The centre, which will run alongside the current Grade II* listed building, will contain collection stores, a multi-functional learning space, a new tearoom and visitor facilities.

The museum, which won an award for its learning services in 2008, houses exhibitions on the history of East Dorset life.

Emma Ayling, the museum's curator, said: "The centre will ensure that the collections are cared for in the right environment.

"It will also enable training opportunities for members of the community to assist in the care of the museum's collections."

The museum, which has over 150 volunteers, has outgrown the current building.

The ceremony is for invited guests only.

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