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ZMMA Architects, the team behind the design of Watts Gallery have been appointed to work on Guildford Museum. This is excellent news and the type of news we need because it shows that things are beginning to happen. ZMMA previously worked on designs for the Guildford Museum’s lottery bid and are familiar with the challenges it poses. They have also worked with many other museums, most notably the excellent Watts Gallery at Compton. What I like about Compton is the way the whole team thought laterally. The galleries are beautiful and a delight - even for people not interested in the art featured. It has an excellent shop and unique café. It puts on events and has developed its “artist village”.g
We have also heard that the Guildford Specialists' Group will meet for the first time at the end of this month. Invites were sent out to local historians over two months ago to take part in this group so it is great to hear that it is now meeting. We are told it will “develop a pool of stories for use in permanent displays and temporary exhibitions in the new museum offering”.
So the ball is starting to roll and one cannot deny the Council’s positive attitude towards this project. Public statements are full of superlatives. Sue Sturgeon, the Council’s Managing Director recently spoke of creating an “exemplary 21st century visitor attraction”. Nikki Nelson-Smith, Councillor for Heritage, speaks of creating “a place local people can be proud of”. As far back as August 2015 the Council’s press statement said “"We are committed to providing an inspiring and wide ranging cultural offering for residents and visitors”
The trick is to turn this into reality and for that we need a plan. I look forward to hearing more about the work of the Development Group and Resilience Group whose roles are develop such a plan.