Royston Museum finally reopens following two-year closure
- Credit: Royston Museum
Royston Museum has reopened at long last after two years of uncertainty and closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The museum celebrates 2,000 years of the town's history as the home of an ancient crossroad, a medieval priory, King James I's royal palace and the enigmatic Royston Cave.
Earlier this year, Royston Museum Trust CIO (charitable incorporated organisation) was formed to take over ownership and management of the museum.
Daily operations are entrusted to museum manager Nicky Paton, who took up the post in March, while the exhibitions and collection are cared for by curator Sophie Riches, who joined in April, with help from a group of volunteers.
The museum has now begun a full redevelopment, split into three phases, which will see its facilities and function overhauled and rebuilt from the ground up.
The priority for phase one was to open the museum as soon as possible, to welcome back visitors and re-establish the museum within the community.
This involved making improvements to the building's infrastructure and presentation of the main gallery, embracing a brighter design and curating fresh, exciting exhibitions.
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Nicky Paton said: "Following an intense couple of months, we are very pleased that phase one is now complete, and the feedback from visitors and community members has been extremely positive.
"We are indebted to our extremely generous and determined team of volunteers who worked day and night to make this happen."
Phase two will commence shortly to redevelop the rest of the building, creating new community and activity spaces, improving toilet facilities and re-establishing the museum shop, as well as launching a schedule of events, talks, activities and workshops.
Phase three will require funding from national organisations such as Heritage Lottery Fund, and will see the installation of a lift and accessible toilets, and the modernisation of the museum's facilities.
The long-term vision is to make the museum the cultural hub of Royston. To realise this potential, the museum is reliant on donations, which can be made through the website or at the welcome desk.
The museum is open every Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.