The red telephone box - a heritage piece that takes its place in the National Collection of Telephone Kiosks at Avoncroft. © Avoncroft
A project entitled 'Avoncroft: Rediscovering the Magic' has won a generous grant of £365,000 to realise a three-year programme of improvements at a respected open air museum in Worcestershire.
Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings is home to 27 buildings spanning seven centuries, from the Tudor period right up to the 1960s. Aiming to rescue historic buildings under threat, the museum offers an award-winning education programme about building techniques and uses of the past, with structures varying from a 15th century merchant's house to a 1946 prefab.
Opened in 1967, it's now time for an overhaul to improve access and infrastructure at the site, as well as bring its collections to life with new interactives, interpretation and online facilities.
The open air museum hosts a range of buildings from this windmill to a 1946 prefab. © Avoncroft
The HLF stepped in with the grant, which will go also towards improving the use of the museum's collections, which include machinery and tools illustrating the history of local industries like nail and chain making, and the National Telephone Kiosk Collection. The latter includes more than 30 working examples of public, police, RAC and AA telephone boxes.
“Following extensive visitor feedback we’re keen to become a centre of excellence for family learning here at Avoncroft for both the local community and wider audiences,” said Simon Carter, Museum Director at Avoncroft. “We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for giving us the chance to explore that possibility."
Trustees, staff and volunteers at Avoncroft Museum celebrate the announcement of the HLF grant outside an early 17th century dovecote rescued from Haselour Hall, Staffordshire, in 1983. Courtesy HLF
The public events programme will be enhanced and more awareness of the museum's volunteer programme will be generated, with opportunities for a further 40 to 50 new people over the next three years.
Other exciting improvements on the cards include the development of a historic gardens exhibit to showcase popular 16th, 19th and 20th century gardening techniques.
“Avoncroft is an outdoor museum treasure and one of the most important of its type in the country,” said Anne Jenkins, Regional Manager for HLF West Midlands. “We are delighted to be able to offer it support for these improvements and help ensure it can be fully enjoyed by the community into the future and beyond.”
Visitors can also see an 18th century cock pit, a Victorian Mission church, windmill and 17th century dovecote at Avoncroft.