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Project overview

Visual showing a large building at night with a projection onto the outsideBorn from a need to protect and safeguard the future of some of Plymouth’s most valued archives and historic collections, Plymouth now has a unique opportunity to create something truly special, a History Centre the city can be proud of and visitors will talk about.

The project has access to a rich and varied resource of material and stories, from films to images, artefacts, to prize collections and documents. This project also offers greater scope to add to an already popular activities and events programme, so there will be many reasons why people will want to visit the centre over and over again.

A current visual of the History Centre's Mammoth gallerySituated between Plymouth University and Plymouth College of Art, the Centre will form the heart of a developing Cultural Hub. Aspirations for the centre include: an archive for Plymouth and the southwest, a museum with stories of Plymouth, how we reached out to the world and brought the world back to Plymouth, a location for contemporary art exhibitions and major touring shows, a new cultural and heritage attraction showcasing our treasures to visitors and a heritage and a cultural centre the city can be proud of.

Plans include the refurbishment of space in the existing Grade II listed museum and library buildings with a contemporary extension to the rear, plus St Luke’s Church in Tavistock Place.

Project milestones

  • May 2014
    Successful Round 1 bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £12.8 million
  • September 2014
    Appointment of key staff and consultant teams
  • January 2014
    New Library plans agreed
  • April 2015
    Exhibition Designers Appointed
  • Consultation in a pop up shopJune 2015
    Joint Library and History Centre Consultations
  • Autumn 2015
    Spring 2016 – More public consultation around Plymouth and beyond
  • January 2016
    Successful Round 1 bid to Arts Council England (ACE) for £4.2 million
  • February 2016
    Decant of the Museum and Art Gallery begins behind-the-scenes
  • March 2016
    Planning application submitted
  • Councillors gathered around History Centre plansMarch 2016
    Central Library relocates to new premises in the city centre
  • April 2016
    Round 2 bid submission to HLF
  • May 2016
    Round 2 bid submission to ACE
  • June 2016
    Planning permission granted
  • July 2016
    Wolfson Foundation funding (£128,000) secured and Building Contractors appointed
  • August 2016
    HLF Round 2 funding secured
  • Closing the museum doorsSeptember 2016
    The Museum and Art Gallery building closed
  • October 2016
    ACE Round 2 funding secured
  • January 2017
    Official ground breaking ceremony takes place and construction work begins
  • March 2017
    Garfield Weston Foundation funding secured (£250,000)

What happens next

Building and construction work has now commenced on the History Centre site and a ‘Museum On Tour’ programme is now under way in a range of venues and locations across Plymouth and beyond.