Final touches to new Shrewsbury museum

With its long-awaited opening now less than a week away, the final touches are being put to Shrewsbury’s new £10.5 million museum and art gallery.

Exhibits on famous Shropshire figures including Charles Darwin and Admiral Benbow are now in place, while artwork from Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin adorns the walls of the temporary exhibition gallery inside the building.

Workmen are still on site ensuring the final few jobs are completed in time for the official opening to the public on Tuesday morning.

Last night about 100 specially-invited guests attended a launch night at the former Music Hall site to celebrate the completion of a restoration project that has lasted almost five years.

Before the event, Native Monster was given a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Shropshire’s rich heritage and history is explained through thousands of artefacts and artworks laid out across the three buildings that make up the museum complex.

The scheme was mired in controversy during the building after substantial construction delays and plans to charge for general admission. But it is hoped the new museum will act as a major draw for tourism, with bosses hoping to attract thousands of visitors each year.

Exhibition spaces begin on the ground floor with the Prehistory and Roman Gallery. This space, which will be free to enter for all visitors, features a replica roundhouse designed with the expert help of Time Team archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson.

It also includes some of the nation’s most treasured Roman artefacts, including an ornate silver mirror discovered at nearby Wroxeter.

Admission charges of up to £4 for adults will apply for the rest of the museum and art gallery.

The building also has conference room space, which will be able to hold weddings.

On the first floor of the Vaughan’s Mansion section are galleries looking at the medieval, Tudor and Stuart periods. The county’s role in the English Civil War is a key feature, with artefacts such as muskets and cannon balls on show and information about Charles I’s time in Shropshire.

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