Grade II* C16 Museum Building

for The Priest’s House Museum Trust

The Priest’s House Museum is a local history museum which occupies an historic Grade II* townhouse within Wimborne Town Conservation Area in Dorset. It has collections rich in archaeology and costume, childhood and local history. The building itself is a complex, multi-phased townhouse dating from the C16th with later major additions and numerous significant phases of re-modelling (C17th-C19th). These layers of history, evident in the building’s composition and fabric, contribute to the sense of the building being part of the collection of artefacts.

Thread’s role on this project is as Lead Consultant and Conservation Architect.

The proposed works include the reworking of both the external facade and internal arrangement of the museum to improve the street presence of the museum (increasing awareness and visitor numbers); improving access; reinterpreting the museum collection and re-ordering the layout to better integrate the historic building fabric into the exhibition experience; increasing revenue; improving the visitor experience; & providing for better archive and storage facilities.

Our work has included extensive understanding of the heritage value of many component parts of the museum, especially the history of the frontage. We have also been through a process of uncovering old photographs and analysing which elements of the building can form part of the interpretation – so that the building is not just a container for an exhibition but forms a key part of the experience.

This is a highly sensitive proposal and our illustration to the right is an extract from a ‘paper’ that we designed to illustrate the proposals to the public. The storyboard narrative guided the reader through the thought process and explained the proposals in a way that was interesting, engaging and easy to understand.

The developed design had to take into account the findings of archaeology and opening up investigations, and careful presentation and drawings were needed for statutory consultations and permissions and the submissions for HLF Funding.