© The Lightbox
Local people are to have a major say in the way The Lightbox, the new long awaited art gallery and museum due to open in Woking in Spring 2007, presents its collections as it launches a new round of public consultation.
Woking residents are to be given a unique opportunity to shape how the town’s new gallery explains local history thanks to a £48,600 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project will take soundings from local people via a series of focus groups involving youngsters, older people, those with various disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, museum users and non-users.
“We have a strong history of consultation throughout this project," said Marilyn Scott, Director of the Lightbox. “Local people have been able to comment at every stage, so it seems appropriate that we ask them about interpretation and sound them out on whether the way we see the displays working in the gallery will meet their expectations.”
The development of The Lightbox will permit the permanent display of Woking’s heritage collection and the consultation project is designed to ensure that it is interpreted and explained in the most appropriate way for museum visitors.
The Lightbox is due to open in Woking in Spring 2007. © The Lightbox
Among the themes that have been earmarked for the history gallery are Brookwood Cemetery, the Shah Jehan Mosque, Brookwood Hospital and the railway. Consultants will research the various strands and sample text will be ‘market tested’ in focus group workshops.
“Giving local people a major say in how the gallery presents its collections to the public will encourage widespread interest in the town’s history and ensure its accessibility. It is definitely an example of best practice, ” said HLF, South East England Region Manager Sheena Vick.
The Lightbox has already broken new ground by carrying out consultation at all stages of development of the new building. An earlier project, funded by a £50,000 HLF grant, gathered recorded reminiscences from local pensioners and has provided education sessions for local schoolchildren.
The new museum and art gallery will be also be developing a support network for artists in the area, for more information about how to get involved, email them at email@example.com or visit the website at www.thelightbox.org.uk