New centre to celebrate Milton Keynes history
- Latest project through Scape for Milton Keynes
- Adds two galleries to celebrate local history
- Continues track record for museums and heritage
- Centre for the community to chart local history
As Milton Keynes celebrates its 50th birthday, we have delivered Milton Keynes Museum’s expansion to ensure the city’s past and present is preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Our team is creating two new galleries for the MK Museum that tell the key stories of this town, from pre-history times right up to the present day.
An ancient Milton Keynes gallery will cover everything from Stone Age and Roman times through to this area’s role during the Wars of the Roses and Civil War. Crucially, it will also see key archaeological finds returned to Milton Keynes where local people can see and enjoy them.
Alongside the first gallery will sit a second large gallery telling the story of how a corner of North Buckinghamshire became the UK’s most ambitious new city, and of the people, organisations and events that have been a part of Milton Keynes’ first 50 years, including special exhibits featuring some of Milton Keynes’ biggest success stories: Marshall Amplification, Red Bull Racing and The Open University.
Originally founded in 1973 by a group of local people, Milton Keynes Museum went from strength to strength until it burnt down in 1996 destroying the museum’s grade II Listed threshing barn and cowshed, both built in the 1850s, and two smaller buildings. Many agricultural implements, stationary engines, cameras, radios and domestic items were severely damaged or destroyed. The Museum was rebuilt and we are now delighted to be adding to its legacy with this fantastic new extension.
Willmott Dixon's role
Our local team built the extension, part of a series of projects in Milton Keynes to create housing, schools and a medical facility. The council is at the heart of everything we are doing and collaborative planning is standard on all projects, with the wider community also benefiting through employment and training opportunities delivered across all our sites in Milton Keynes.
By April 2017, there had been 820 site visits by school and university students and 713 weeks’ worth of apprenticeships on our local projects. A partnership with Milton Keynes College has given the latter’s construction students opportunities to develop the skills they are learning, with 226 weeks of work experience provided across three school sites and the museum.
We also set up an area for bricklaying and carpentry so when apprentices are working with our supply chain partners they can practice the skills they have been learning.
The museum has already experienced an initial 20% increase in ticket sales but as it becomes fully operational this is expected to increase to 50%.
Museum director Bill Griffiths:
“Our aims are as ambitious as ever: to create a fantastic museum of which the people of Milton Keynes can be proud, which draws in people from all over the UK and allows us to bring home the unique archaeology of this area.
“We are grateful to Milton Keynes Council for its continuing support and to local people who are visiting in ever greater numbers. This is their museum and we're committed to retaining what they love about what is already here.”
Peter Owen, managing director at Willmott Dixon said:
“This exciting project for Milton Keynes provides two galleries that act as a real showcase for the city’s heritage, telling its story to the local community and those visiting from further afield. This has a real lasting legacy in the city and we are very proud to be a part of it.”