2015 – Museum Review
Following the failure of a second lottery bid, announced in March 2015, the future of Guildford Museum seemed in doubt. (see History of Guildford Museum) A review was set up to decide the future of the museum, whether keep it and if so whether to move it elsewhere. A report by Stuart Davies Associates identified that Guildford has a great heritage and many stories to tell and needed a museum. In April 2016 the Council agreed to fund a project to develop the museum. It also concluded that there were no other locations available and that the museum should stay where is was. New builds faced competition from other developers and there were no suitable buildings available. The library in North Street was considered but it is owned by Surrey County Council. The museum is currently near the castle in the most historic part of the town.
2016-2017 – Your Stories, Your Museum
A grant was also obtained to investigate what sort of museum the public wanted. Called “Your Stories, Your Museum” it consisted of a series of roadshows taken to fetes, libraries and town events. People were asked what made Guildford special, what events they remembered and what sort of museum they wanted. There was interest in the Guildford story and also in objects from daily life that people could remember from their own past.
2018 – Project Team appointed
In 2018 the Council, based on this initial work agreed to continue the project and appoint a dedicated project manager with experience in the field. Julia Holbery Associates we’re appointed in August 2018. Several other consultants were also appointed and the fist task was to define what sort of museum the Council wanted. The architects were
ZMMA who worked on Watts Gallery and had been with the museum project since before the review. They were appointed to develop a scheme to link the museum to the Castle Grounds.
Workshops were held with Councillors, heritage groups and individuals involved with local history. The council’s desire for a museum that celebrates the modern town as much as its history was support.