(Above) Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum is on the move
Officials at Devon's Teignmouth and Shaldon Museum are on the verge of finalising a long-awaited deal to move to a "beautiful" new annexe next to the existing building.
The museum, which houses key coastal collections including assemblage designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act and a flag from the 1816 Battle of Algiers, will create the modern heritage centre with cash from the government's three-year Sea Change scheme, aimed at boosting struggling seaside communities.
"The new building will provide an entirely new gallery," said the Museum's Tony Brown, reflecting on the site's current 18th century home.
"The existing space is outdated and the many interesting items we have cannot be displayed properly. This development will provide much more opportunity for good displays and more regularly changing exhibitions."
The committed team of volunteers at the Museum have been helping pack the important coastal artefacts held in the centre
Facilities at the revamped centre, scheduled for completion at the start of 2010, include a welcome desk, community space, improved access designs, interactive elements and a roof terrace.
"We have a number of important artefacts and Admiral Pellew and Thomas Luny lived nearby," added Brown. "Isambard Kingdom Brunel had a holiday home close by, and his Great Western railway is within 100 yards of the museum."
The new plot was given to the project by Teignbridge Council and Devon County Council, following a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £400,000 and more than £132,000 raised by the local community and a fervent team of volunteers who are helping with the move.
"Our priority has been to let local people know we are temporarily vacating the old premises and get to grips with the practicalities of actually putting things into packing cases and physically moving them," said Brown.
"We have been an important port for hundreds of years, so we have a really compelling story to tell once we get more room."