The success story of Midhurst’s tiny museum opened a fresh chapter today (Friday, April 1) when a new exhibition centre opened next door.
Believed to be one of the smallest museums in the country, it opened in Knockhundred Market four and a half years ago and is home to displays which are changed monthly and organised by town historians Dave and Tim Rudwick.
Now ‘Midhurst Museum’ has opened up next door in Knockhundred Market in the former beauty salon.
With its impressive rows of state-of-the-art display cabinets, the new exhibition centre contains a timeline of Midhurst’s history and heritage dating from the Stone Age to modern times.
It is the latest stage of the museum project founded by Peter Nightingale and his wife Gill who spent four years after they arrived in the town eight years ago, trying to get the scheme off the ground.
“When we arrived people said they had wanted a museum for 40 years,” said Peter.
“Gill and I got together with Dave and Tim Rudwick and formed a committee to try and set one up.
“We were joined by Noel Simpson and Liz Willing as well as two representatives from the town council Gordon McAra and Judy Fowler (Judy has since retired from the council).”
It opened in December 2011. There was a small band of volunteers to man the museum and it opened for four hours on one day a week.
“It’s been a real success story,” said Peter “the people of Midhurst have supported the museum so well in terms of volunteers and people bringing in things for display and sponsorship.
“We have had 15,300 visitors and now have more than 30 volunteers and are able to open the museum five days a week from 10.30am-4pm from Tuesday to Sunday.”
The opening of Midhurst Museum Too is the icing on the cake for Peter and Gill.
“We heard the shop was going to be available and secured a three year lease back in February.
“History has been a life time passion for both Gill and me and being able to get the museum off the ground and expand it like this is a dream come true. “
Privately funded, the new exhibition centre cost more than £10,000 to set up.
“Successful bids to grant funders have already recouped about three quarters of that,” said Peter.
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