Dorset County Museum submits £13m extension plans

Plans for Dorset County Museum Image copyright Carmody Groarke / Dorset County Museum
Image caption The plans include new galleries, a library and a cafe

Plans have been submitted for a major £13m extension and upgrade to Dorset County Museum.

The project, due to be completed by 2020, aims to turn the 19th Century building in Dorchester into a "world-class contemporary museum".

Plans include new galleries, a learning centre, a library, and facilities including a cafe and shop.

The museum is to host the Natural History Museum's diplodocus skeleton replica which is touring next year.

Dippy on Tour, which will be in Dorchester from 10 February to 8 May, will be the last temporary exhibition to be hosted by Dorset County Museum before parts of the galleries are closed for the refurbishment.

Image caption The Grade I listed building was built to house the museum's artefacts

The aim of the extension project is to put more of the museum's artefacts on display.

It is being funded by a £10m lottery grant, with the museum needing to raise the remaining £3m.

Founded in 1846, the museum holds the archive of novelist Thomas Hardy and numerous Jurassic Coast fossils.

Owned by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, the museum is one of the oldest privately-owned attractions of its kind.

The Grade I listed Gothic-style building in High Street West was built to house the museum's collection, which has now grown to four million artefacts.

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