The new Crawley Museum will partially open to visitors next weekend.
From 1pm on Saturday May 5, a temporary exhibition gallery will be set up in the first-floor Link building at The Tree, on the corner of High Street and the Boulevard. Visitors will also be able to explore the museum’s Annexe.
The museum will then open in full on Sunday July 1, to coincide with Crawley Festival’s High Street Live event.
Curator Helen Poole said: “We are very excited about the prospect of opening to the public and showing the potential of our new site and facilities.”
The first exhibition, called CHAGOS – Cultural Heritage Across Generations – will run until May 27.
Later exhibitions will include 40 years of The Cure (July 1-22), Memories of Crawley (August 1-31) and Working Life in Crawley (September 7-30).
The museum’s journey from its former Goffs Park premises started in 2013 when Crawley Borough Council put together a Heritage Lottery Fund application and was awarded £1.15m to prepare the Grade II listed Tree and its Annexe. Work started in November 2015.
Helen said: “We have taken to heart the recommendations which came through very clearly during our public consultations a few years ago, when Crawley folk expressed the resoundingly strong view that they wanted somewhere to show pride of place.
“Crawley New Town is featured, but so too are the historic roots which have helped to form the town’s character over 2,000 years.
“New material is coming in all the time, and will no doubt continue to do so, but there will be plenty to see and hear right from the start.
“We are very excited and shall look forward to sharing our treasures with visitors from the town and beyond.”
The museum is still looking for volunteers to help with everything from administration to stewarding to working in the museum shop. Training and mentoring will be provided.
An application form can be found at www.crawleymuseum.co.uk .
The museum’s opening hours will be Wednesday-Saturday, 10.30am to 4pm, and Sunday from 2-4.30pm.
May 5-27 – CHAGOS – Cultural Heritage Across Generations, based on a research project run from the University of Edinburgh and featuring the extensive work done with the community by Carolyn Murphy and her team in Crawley.
June 2-24 – Silent Sisters on the partition of India, an active project brought to completion by Raminder Kaur with funding from Arts Council England.
July 1-22 – The Cure, a celebration of 40 years of the Crawley band who began under this name in 1978 and celebrate their anniversary with a concert in Hyde Park. The start of the exhibition is timed to coincide with CBC’s High Street Live event on July 1st.
August 1-31 – Memories of Crawley, which will feature the newly created Wall Hanging that the Refugees Welcome Sewing Project produced to celebrate Crawley New Town’s 70th Birthday. It will also look at the early progress of the New Town, encouraging people to record their memories of what Sir Thomas Bennett proposed as the ‘finest town in England’ in 1948.
September 7-30 – Working Life in Crawley, demonstrating the success of Manor Royal and the development of other industries in the town, plus a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
October 5-28 – Diverse Crawley, a celebration of Black History Month, in conjunction with the Diverse Crawley group and the Crawley Campaign against Racism It will focus on the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
November 3-25 – Remembrance, a look at the armistice which brought the First World War to an end in 1918 and how it affected people in Crawley, both military and civilian, through memorials and memorabilia.
December 3-30 – Dickens, Leech and Christmas, to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the publication of A Christmas Carol, with illustrations by The Tree’s most famous resident, John Leech. This will be linked with seasonal Dickensian festivities.