Museum to undergo £370,000 revamp

A YORKSHIRE museum is to close for a year from next month as it undergoes a major refurbishment.

Cliffe Castle Museum, a local heritage museum in Keighley, will close its doors on Monday, April 2, to allow work that will see the restoration of some of the Victorian building’s most important and historic rooms.

The £370,000 project will also involve the Grade II listed neo-Gothic building being completely rewired to deliver new lighting in display cabinets and heating systems that will help to enhance the visitor experience.

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It is expected that the Bradford Council-owned venue will reopen in 2013 as the work is scheduled to last for 12 months.

The refurbishment will involve staff members moving exhibits from each room in turn to allow for rewiring work to be undertaken.

This will entail the careful handling of objects as diverse as the black sarcophagus of an Egyptian nobleman; local archaeological finds including arrowheads and rock art; a world famous stained glass collection; and original furniture and furnishings belonging to former owner Henry Isaac Butterfield, a Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer.

In addition, the project will support the restoration and re-installation of the Bracewell Smith Hall carved chandelier, which was removed from the Museum over 30 years ago.

It will also enable the redecoration of the Museum’s important central gallery space with its original paint scheme and gilding.

A council spokesman said the work would improve the museum for locals and tourists.

“The work is being carried out as part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to protect and enhance its facilities to make sure they continue to provide a great experience for local people and tourists,” he said.

Coun David Green, Bradford Council’s executive member responsible for culture, said: “This exciting refurbishment project will ensure that Cliffe Castle Museum remains an important part of Keighley’s heritage and secure its long-term future.

“The work will enhance the visitor experience through the historically sympathetic restoration of some of the building’s most important rooms, and also through improved lighting and heating.

“We look forward to welcoming people back once the work has been completed and hope that in the meantime they will continue to visit our other museums across the Bradford district.”

Visitors will be able to find out more about the work as it progresses by visiting the website at www.bradfordmuseums.org

The website will also provide information about family events, fun activities and exhibitions at Bradford Council’s other museums across the district.