Exciting times at Gilbert White & The Oates Collections as we are about to embark on a journey to help secure our future.
Following a successful HLF Lottery application earlier this year our museum is looking forward to a makeover which will enable us to expand our visitor profile and better accommodate those who come to look at our collections.
We plan a completely new entrance, guiding people into Gilbert’s stable yard where they will encounter the old stables, enhanced by a beautiful oak extension, which is to be our new café plus outdoor seating. Work to lovingly renovate the stable yard begins in January and this will eventually include Gilbert’s brewhouse restored to house a microbrewery brewing Gilbert’s beer to his own recipe.
Meanwhile in the garden, we will have a new shed/workroom and a greenhouse will help us to be more self- sufficient by growing flowers, vegetables and herbs to be used in our new kitchen.
Plans for the museum will reveal more of our precious collections which are currently stored in archives away from the public eye. First up, we will create a brand new library space to display visiting temporary exhibitions and our extensive collection of books. This quiet space will provide a resource for our neighbours, visitors and volunteers to use when the museum is open and for clubs or group talks in the evenings. The new entrance, reception area and shop will lead the way to a welcome and orientation space where visitors can learn why our museum plays host to three explorers of the natural world.
Once the building work and general reorganisation of the spaces is complete we will round off with a fully reinterpreted exhibition dedicated to Frank Oates, the uncle of Lawrence. We are all particularly excited about this as it is LONG overdue.
Finally, a word about our car park situated up behind the Selborne Arms pub, work will start this autumn to re-landscape the top part creating a significant number of new parking spaces surrounded by sensitive landscaping. Whilst this news will, no doubt, be welcomed in the village we anticipate the work taking six weeks and, therefore, hope that everyone will bear with us during that time.
Watch this space for updates on our progress and also our website for details of some of our generous donors displayed in scrolling format at the bottom of the front page.