It is with regret that in July 2017, Blackpool Council decided that it was unable to proceed with the Blackpool Museum Project in the Winter Gardens. Unfortunately the scale of the matched funding target wass too great at a time when the Council is under severe financial pressure.
Despite this decision, the Council still has the ambition to build on the excellent work done to date. Although the ambition remains to build a museum in Blackpool, it is likely to be over a different scope and timeframe than originally envisaged.
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Museum Vision (previous project)
This project involves the creation of a new £26m museum for Blackpool, telling the story of the nation’s favourite seaside destination and its role in the development of British popular culture.
The Museum will contain 1500m2 of high quality semi-permanent accessible and imaginative displays. There will be a dedicated temporary exhibition gallery of approximately 200m2 to ensure ongoing audience development and dedicated facilities and spaces for activities and performances.
It will be no conventional museum – it will be a vibrant and celebratory space – a blend of museum, visitor attraction and theatre, filled with artefacts, film, music and performance. It will be immersive, participatory and inclusive. It will have a strong personality with a memorable and distinctive take which is true to the lively spirit of Blackpool. Blackpool Museum will be a serious museum with a funny side.
Our vision: Blackpool Museum will celebrate Britain’s love affair with the seaside holiday and Blackpool’s role in shaping popular entertainment in Britain for over 150 years.
Our mission: To demonstrate to the world the pivotal role that Blackpool has played in shaping British popular culture.
Museum Themes (previous project)
The displays will be divided into eight nationally significant themes that Blackpool has played a significant role in:
- Beside the seaside The great British seaside holiday: the story of how Blackpool became symbolic of the British seaside holiday both at home and abroad.
- How bizarre Fun, thrills and escapism: Blackpool capitalised on our desire for fun and escapism by creating experiences that ranged from the breath-taking to the bizarre.
- Reach for the sky The Blackpool Tower story: The story of how Blackpool created one of Britain’s most iconic landmarks; a tale of high drama and deception, but ultimately success.
- Roll up! Roll up! A celebration of Blackpool’s international role in circus: Britain is the birth place of the modern circus and Blackpool is home to the internationally significant Tower Circus.
- It’s show time! The great British talent show: featuring comedy, music, dance performance, magic and other specialty acts. Blackpool became the northern home of variety; a very British format that grew from music hall and moved from the stage and onto our television screens.
- Everybody dance now The home of dance: the chance for a dance has always been one of Blackpool’s biggest attractions. Discover how Blackpool became the spiritual home of ballroom dance and and today hosts the biggest international dance festival in the world.
- Let us entertain you The magnificent Winter Gardens: Blackpool created the best Winter Gardens complex in Britain and attracted national and international stars and incredible events. Even today the events and programmes reflect the diversity of great British popular culture.
- It’s better with the lights on The Blackpool Illuminations: in order to extend the season, Blackpool created the Illuminations. It used electric street lighting to create one of the world’s greatest light attractions today.
In 2013 the Council undertook a feasibility study to develop the proposal for a new museum in Blackpool. The project was awarded a round one pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in May 2014. The Council employed a dedicated project team in April 2015 and will submit a round two submission in March 2017.