St Barbe revamp: Lymington museum gets lottery funds
Plans to revamp a New Forest museum and create a new public archive have received lottery funding to help get the scheme off the ground.
The Heritage Lottery Fund said the £2m project would transform St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington into a "flagship heritage venue".
The museum has been given £146,000 by the fund to develop more detailed plans and prepare a full grant application.
The 179-year-old former school building would be remodelled under the plans.
The museum, which explores the history of the New Forest coast, will get a cafe and new entrance building.
The designs, which also include remodelling the interior and installing new displays, have been drawn up by Avery Associates, the architects responsible for the BFI London Imax Cinema.
The archive project would improve public access to local history collections, including the work of Edward King and Arthur Lloyd.
Chairman of trustees to the museum David Rule said: "It will make St Barbe fit for the future and enhance our ability to safeguard and share the history of the New Forest and Solent Coast.
"We hope that residents, not only of Lymington, but the New Forest as a whole, will back this project and help it to succeed."
The museum will apply for a second round of HLF funding in 2015 and, if successful, building work is scheduled for 2016 and the new-look museum will be launched in 2017.
The existing building dates back to 1835 and was set up by the St Barbe family to educate the poor children of Lymington.