Rugby Borough Council has announced that work on the World Rugby Hall of Fame is to start almost immediately.
The museum galleries on the first floor of the Art Gallery, Museum and Visitor Centre building will close by early June ready for fit-out of the Hall of Fame starting by July. The Art Gallery on the second floor of the building will not be affected.
The council is currently considering how best to make sure that residents will have continued access to the social history collection.
Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “Rugbeians are rightly proud of their history, which includes a rich industrial and engineering heritage as well as the birth of rugby football. It’s important that this heritage is remembered and reinterpreted for a modern and diverse audience.
“The social history and Tripontium galleries haven’t changed for some years, so we now have an important opportunity to update and redisplay the collection in a new way.”
The borough council has also announced plans to refurbish the foyer area and visitor information point within the Art Gallery, Museum and Visitor Centre building. The coffee shop will be relocated into a larger, purpose built facility where the gift shop is currently located, while the visitor information point and gift shop will move to the ground floor entrance area to the Hall of Fame. The atrium will include a feature installation, visible from outside the building.
Cllr Stokes said: “We demonstrated during the Rugby World Cup that the building is an iconic location in the town. With a global visitor attraction soon to open in the building, now is the time to make sure that its design and layout, and the service we provide, is able to welcome our visitors and meet their needs.”
“It is inevitable that these works will cause some disruption to art gallery and museum visitors. However, the Hall of Fame will bring a major boost to the town centre, and I know that this prize will be worth the inconvenience.”
The Hall of Fame will be located in the Art Gallery and Museum building for a minimum four-year period. The cost of the works to install the Hall of Fame and reconfigure the entrance foyer and atrium will be £1.2million, which will be underwritten by Rugby Borough Council.
Approval for the works and for the agreement with World Rugby was given by councillors at a Special Meeting of Rugby Borough Council held yesterday, Thursday.