Latest visitor numbers show that over 60,000 people have visited the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery since it opened on 1 April 2014, and it is estimated that more than 30,000 paying visitors will have visited its upstairs galleries by the end of the financial year.
Tourists from the UK and overseas are being inspired by Museum’s collections to go and explore more of the county’s heritage in places like Wroxeter Roman City, Ironbridge and the county’s medieval market towns. The building is also being used for a vast range of meetings, events, music and social gatherings, contributing to the development of a successful Cultural Quarter in the county town.
Visitors have come from as far afield as Chile, Japan, Russia, Canada and the USA, and customer feedback through travel websites and questionnaires has been exceptionally positive, with comments including: "unexpectedly fabulous"; "fascinating presentation - this is a must visit museum"; "well organised and… absorbing"; and "this museum warrants another visit".
Since opening in April the newly refurbished Museum has run a varied temporary exhibitions programme from contemporary art and international photography to the current "Exposed" exhibition.
Due to the Government Indemnity Scheme it has been possible, for the first time in Shropshire, to exhibit internationally valuable works of art with a range of superb examples from artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Auguste Rodin and Edward Burne-Jones through to Damien Hirst and Francis Bacon.
The Visitor Information Centre at the Museum is showcasing the best that Shropshire has to offer and is supporting local producers by stocking examples of their wares.
And two new businesses have been launched within the Museum complex, with stop. Café continuing to thrive and the Joseph Gibson Gallery, which opened in October 2014, offering exceptional art for sale in the retail space at the front of the building.
Meanwhile, the producers of the BBC’s "Bargain Hunt" were so impressed that they have filmed at the new Museum twice this year.
Over 100 volunteers now play a crucial role meeting and greeting visitors, interpreting the galleries and helping to share Shropshire's history and stories.
And a schools education programme launched at the Museum in September is proving popular, with babies and children taking part in a range of activities based around the Museum’s collection.
Tina Woodward, Shropshire Council's deputy Cabinet member for visitor economy, said:
"I've been delighted with the visitor feedback to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and am confident that our dedicated team of staff and volunteers are working hard to bring in new activities, events and exhibitions that keep both our local residents, businesses and visitors coming through the doors. It's been a challenging year for the service running the new venue, but I know we have an exciting programme to look forward to in 2015 including the much-anticipated "Secret Egypt" exhibition from late January."
For more information about Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery go to www.shrewsburymuseum.org.uk or follow @shrewsmuseum on twitter.
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