Plans unveiled for displaced museum attractions

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper and Rugby Borough Council Leader Cllr Michael Stokes at the launch of the World Rugby Hall of Fame NNL-160206-170306001
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper and Rugby Borough Council Leader Cllr Michael Stokes at the launch of the World Rugby Hall of Fame NNL-160206-170306001

With World Rugby’s Hall of Fame on its way to the first floor of Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, the question remained of what would happen to the features it replaces.

Amid all the excitement, Rugby Borough Council pledged to move quickly to outline the future for them – and it has.

The decision to squeeze out the town of Rugby’s own proud history and cancel exhibitions due to take place in the Floor One art gallery, produced some angry reactions – notably in the letters page of the current Rugby Advertiser – but now the council has unveiled its way forward.

Rugby’s museum and the Floor One gallery will reopen within the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum building later this year, following a period of closure to allow installation of the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

The plan has been devised by the leader’s group set up by borough council Cllr Michael Stokes.

This group also includes Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, Cllr Claire Edwards and Cllr Howard Roberts, the leaders of the political groups on the council and they will oversee changes to the art gallery and museum service.

Cllr Stokes said: “Councillors have been very clear that, while the World Rugby Hall of Fame will be a fantastic addition to the town centre, Rugby has a rich industrial and social heritage that we must not lose sight of.

“I am very pleased that we have found a way to redisplay the popular social history and archaeological collections within the art gallery and museum building.

“Our plans mean that all of the collections will be back on display by the end of the year.”

The Floor One art gallery will close on June 10 to provide art gallery and museum staff a clear space to archive, store and redisplay museum artefacts, but will reopen for hirers once this work is complete.

The Tripontium Roman history and Jack Lucas archaeology displays will be relocated to the second floor balcony area, and the social history collection will be redisplayed in part of the second floor exhibition space.

The museum displays and the art gallery will reopen by the end of September 2016.

Cllr Stokes added: “The plan we have developed will mean that our successful education programme will be able to continue, and there will also be space for events and activities.

“By making sure all of the collections are easily removable, we will be able to rotate the displays and use the exhibition areas for larger scale events should we wish to.

“Our task now is to develop a medium term plan that will increase public engagement and enjoyment of the collections over the next few years.”