Bolton Museum, Aquarium and Archive is to undergo a major refurbishment in order to highlight the importance of the town’s most famous invention.
Samuel Crompton’s Spinning Mule revolutionised the British cotton industry in the 1800s and the impact of this invention will feature in a new, permanent gallery in the museum.
The new gallery will be created in the space that is currently devoted to local history, wildlife and the world’s continents, known as the museum gallery.
As a result, the gallery will close to the public on January 4, 2010 for approximately 10 months while the £530,000 project is carried out.
The project is part of the North West's Raising The Game programme that is raising the quality, ambition and profile of six leading museums and galleries to attract more tourists to the region.
This programme is delivered with funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) with Renaissance North West.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism at the NWDA, said: “Industrial heritage is one of the North West's unique assets, and Bolton Museum will be working with other regional museums to make the most of this Industrial Powerhouse story.
“Bolton Museum is a great attraction and this is an opportunity to enhance its fantastic tourism offer.”
The rest of the museum, including the Egyptology gallery, art gallery and Up Close gallery will be open as normal. However, the temporary exhibition gallery – currently being used for the Open Art exhibition – will be closed from January to July for storage purposes.
Central Library, the Aquarium and History Centre will also continue to operate as normal.
Executive member for Adult and Community Services, Councillor Elaine Sherrington said: “We are very fortunate in Bolton to have an already outstanding museum facility. However, we are delighted to be able to take up this opportunity to develop and improve the attraction further.
“Thanks to a significant amount of external funding and investment from the council, we will be able to offer an enviable local history gallery charting the impact of industrialisation on Bolton and beyond. In order to achieve this, the current gallery will close temporarily and there may be an element of noise and disruption. However, I am sure the final project will be well worth the wait and I hope to see people from far and wide visiting the museum and enjoying the new facilities.”
The new gallery will be divided into three sections, looking at industrialisation and the impact of the invention of the Spinning Mule; the subsequent developments in Bolton since the textile industry declined and the lives of Boltonians past and present.
Highlights will include a “talking heads” display featuring anecdotes from the characters of Samuel Crompton and Richard Arkwright plus a new bronze bust of Fred Dibnah.
In addition, 90 per cent of the objects on display in the gallery will be “new”, having never been seen by the public before or out of view for several years.
The improvements will also include a new lift between the two storeys, new lights, restoration of the original parquet flooring and renovation of display cabinets.