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An exciting new future beckons for Craven Museum & Gallery

Craven Museum & Gallery may have its roots planted firmly in the past but it's now looking to the future with an exciting new £2 million project.

Plans to create a fascinating new visitor experience are underway - with the aim to attract local people, tourists and businesses alike.

The centre will aim not only to celebrate Craven's rich heritage but also to act as a visitor hub, inspiring people to travel across the district and to return to the area time and again to enjoy the Craven Dales and find out about its landscape, people and history.

The expected budget for this innovative new project will be around £2 million, with grants being sought from a variety of potential funders.

Craven District Council is consulting on the options for redeveloping Craven Museum & Gallery and Skipton Tourist Information Centre, both housed within the Town Hall, which is due to reopen in May.

Current works are almost complete to improve disabled access to the building, with a contemporary new entrance on Jerry Croft and a lift installed to the first floor. A new toilet block, heating system and internal rewiring, as well as improvements to commercial units will complete this first stage of the Victorian Town Hall's refurbishment.

Councillor Simon Myers, Lead Member for the Town Hall, said: "We are incredibly fortunate to be in a position where the Council can consider the continued development of a beautiful asset such as Skipton Town Hall to help promote the economy for the whole of the district.

"What we need now is for the public to help shape the vision to make sure that any new visitor hub celebrates the things that are important to us all."

The latest stage of public consultation is now underway to find out what people think about this exciting idea and to help shape the way forward.

Craven Museum & Gallery is already a popular visitor destination with 64,000 visitors last year; staff want to find out what people like about the current museum and how they think it could be improved both in layout and in its displays and activities.

There will be a number of upcoming opportunities for the public to get involved, with a questionnaire on the Craven District Council and Craven Museum websites, and consultation packs being sent out to all Craven's Parish Councils. For those visiting Skipton on Wednesday April 1 between 11am and 3pm, look out for Museum staff and volunteers who will be dressed in historical costume on the steps outside the Town Hall to chat to people about what they think.

Other consultation dates and sites will be announced shortly. The Craven Herald will be keeping people informed, and helping readers to find out more about the Museum and the incredible collections we own. Follow what's happening at the Museum on Twitter (@CravenMuseum) and Facebook (Craven Museum & Gallery) too.

Press Release date 9th March 2015