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Work begins on £1 million extension to Gloucestershire musuem

One of Gloucestershire's most popular visitor attractions has begun on a £1.2 million two-phase refurbishment - with the work being carried out by a company from Swindon.

Beard Construction have begun the work to remodel the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, that will see a new discovery centre added to the site, while the museum remains open for business.

The Corinium Museum in Cirencester

The project is due to be completed in January 2020 and will provide a dedicated space for school workshops, archaeological workshops and demonstrations.

The award-winning museum, houses one of the largest collections of Roman British artefacts and mosaics.

It is owned by Cotswold District Council and operated by leisure management contractor SLM. It takes its name from the Roman British settlement at Cirencester - Corinium Dobunnorum.

Amanda Hart, Corinium Museum director said: "We are very proud of our multi-award winning Museum, and this wonderful new project will provide all visitors with access to a much wider range of exhibits for the very first time.

"There will also be opportunities to work more closely with schools and allow the public to see the work of conservators and other support staff at close quarters."

This is the second specialised construction project for Beard at the museum, who carried out the remodelling, visitor facilities modernisation and extension on 2002.

The project was led by Beard site manager Richard Summers who is also overseeing the new refurbishment and remodelling works.

"We're delighted to be working with the Corinium Museum and the Council again on this fantastic new Discovery Centre which will significantly enhance the visitor experience," he said.

"Beard is highly experienced in delivering specialised heritage and cultural projects which require working sensitively in very delicate spaces around extremely fragile and priceless ancient artefacts.

"On a building project like this, even straightforward tasks of unloading, removing excavated materials and moving goods, are complex logistical exercises."

The start of works follows an extensive fund-raising programme by the Corinium Museum which raised £539,000 for the project, securing a further £677,000 in grant-funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £150,000 from Cotswold District Council.

The project is set to transform the front part of the museum, creating a warm welcome for visitors and exciting new galleries which will highlight the star objects from the prehistoric Cotswolds.

Amanda Hart added: "After years of careful planning and fund raising, it's marvellous that the project is now underway and we can actually see progress on a daily basis.

"This project will transform the front part of the Museum, creating a warm welcome for visitors and stunning new galleries which will highlight amazing objects from the prehistoric Cotswolds.

"The Discovery Centre will be an inspirational learning space for a diverse range of activities to be enjoyed by all our visitors."

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