Delayed Dorset Museum reopening date announced

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image copyrightDorset County Museum
image captionThe museum has released images of its new galleries

A museum that closed two years ago for refurbishment is due to reopen later this month, having been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dorset Museum, formerly Dorset County Museum, said the pandemic had led to a five-month delay in its £16m extension.

It plans to reopen on 28 May with four new galleries, a collections centre, library, shop and cafe.

Director Dr Jon Murden said it was "extremely satisfying" to have the work near completion.

The museum has been closed since October 2018.

The extension will house new galleries to allow the museum to display more of its four million artefacts, including fossils, sculptures by Dame Elisabeth Frink, novelist Thomas Hardy's pens and Bronze Age axes.

Previously only a small portion of its collection had been displayed.

image copyrightAFP
image captionThe museum was the first to host the Natural History Museum's touring Diplodocus dinosaur before it closed for the refurbishment

It will also display an "internationally significant" Roman mosaic found at Dewlish after £150,000 was raised to stop it from being exported.

The revamp has been part-funded by a £11.3m National Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

In November, the museum said the pandemic had led to a five-month delay due to the furlough of suppliers of key materials and because fewer building staff had been able to work on site.

Dr Murden said: "Despite the challenges we have faced, the team here have never lost faith in our vision to reimagine and reinvigorate Dorset's museum, securing its future and the future of its globally-important collections for generations to come."

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