The National Museum Wales has recently unveiled the redeveloped main building at its St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff.
The Grade II-listed main building now provides a new entrance, reception area, shop and café. The Weston Centre for Learning includes activity spaces and a lecture theatre. Also due to complete soon is Gweithdy, a brand new sustainable building celebrating the skills of makers past and present, which encourages visitors of all ages to experience traditional skills first-hand.
Focus Consultants are the project managers and quantity surveyors for the wide-ranging redevelopment at the site, and also provided business planning and funding advice for the preparation of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, which, at £11.55 million, was the HLF’s largest grant award in Wales when it was awarded in 2012.
The main building redevelopment is part of the wider Making History project at St Fagans, which is due to complete in October 2018. It is the National Museum Wales’ biggest redevelopment project ever and marks the greatest period of change for St Fagans since it was founded in 1948 as the first open-air museum in the UK. Now the most popular heritage attraction in Wales, it stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle and Gardens, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth.
“The complete redevelopment of the main building and the construction of a multi-purpose sustainable building are key to delivering our vision at St Fagans, not only to extend the timeline of the stories told at St Fagans but also to be a museum that makes a difference to people’s lives – a place where everyone can share knowledge, collections and skills and importantly make history together,” said David Anderson, Director General, Amguedfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.
“The Making History project is currently one of the most significant and innovative heritage projects in the UK. It is a distinctively Welsh – and globally significant – model for museums, one rooted in social engagement and cultural democracy.”
For the first time, visitors will be able to explore life in Wales from the earliest humans to present day life in St Fagans.
Richard Bellamy, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Following years of hard work and the biggest grant we’ve ever given in Wales, this exciting project to refresh St Fagans and introduce a huge range of new facilities and attractions is well and truly underway, with results beginning to show already.
“The fantastic new entrance sets the scene for a wealth of learning and fun within, which over the next two years will be added to even further and help take St Fagans from being one of Wales’s best loved museums to one that is of international standing. I would like to thank all National Lottery players for helping make this remarkable facility possible in Wales.”
In addition to funding from the Museum and private donations, £7m was awarded from the Welsh Government, to help transform the Museum.