Until mid-March the Museum was a hive of activity. Construction work on the second-floor shell had neared completion and the steelwork for the roof had arrived on site.
A first round of prototypes of our new showcases, plinths, object vitrines and Audio Visual displays was in production and it was full steam ahead with object conservation, including our Fordington Mosaic which was carefully excavated, dismantled and removed by specialist conservators, Cliveden Conservation back in January 2019.
At present, the construction site is still operational, albeit with a very reduced workforce who are closely following government advice and practicing social distancing across all areas. However, the flow of supplies to site has been severely disrupted and other parts of the project, particularly those that involve people working closely together, are delayed.
The Museum’s project staff are all working from home whilst many others in the team have been furloughed during this period. We are closely monitoring the government’s daily updates and following the official advice, but at the moment we are predicting a delay to the project of around 4 months.
We are now working towards reopening the Museum in Spring 2021, and are very much looking forward to opening the doors to the new Dorset Museum then.
The impact of Covid-19 on the Museum’s financial planning is significant and we are no longer where we had hoped to be! However, we remain confident that we will steer a course through this and be able to deliver a fantastic new museum for Dorset early next year.
Dr Jon Murden, Director, explains: ‘Although, we are disappointed that the arrival of Covid-19 has slowed down progress creating the new Dorset Museum, the upmost importance is ensuring the safety and health of our staff, contractors, volunteers and our communities.
We must remember that this is a temporary setback and all our team remain optimistic and confident that we will be back on track and reopening the Museum in brighter and healthier times.’
The team remains in good heart and whilst we continue to build Dorset Museum from our homes we are also inviting families and our online communities to build their own museums. Please follow our social media and have a look at our Learn page on our website to find out how you can create ‘a museum from home’.