The Wimborne-based museum received £115,000 to support the organisation until it is in a position to re-open at the end of a major refurbishment project. The pandemic has caused a four-month delay to the planned launch of the new museum after more than a year of closure. The funding will be used to help stabilise the organisation and safeguard its future by covering some of the fixed and unplanned costs for this period. It will be used to make the museum fit and safe for the new Covid-19 reality, including a reconfigured tea room, appropriate safety precautions, an on-line ticketed booking system and greater access to museum services for all via the internet.
The museum was to reopen in June 2020. When the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began, all construction work ceased. The Trust had no option but to furlough all the staff apart from the director for more than three months. The trustees have been working behind the scenes to mitigate the delays which have resulted in a significant loss of summer income at a peak time when many visitors would have visited the area. As a registered charity, the museum relies on this income to enable it to offer its services to the visitors and the local community.
David Morgan, chairman of the Trust said, “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now look forward to the long-awaited reopening of the museum, confident that we have all the measures in place to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our visitors, our staff and our volunteers.”
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