St Albans Mayor opened the door of the Museum of St Albans to the public for the last time on Sunday 20 September.
The event celebrated the Museum’s 117 years in Hatfield Road and its planned 2017 move into a new home in the Town Hall, St Peter’s Street.
Cllr Annie Brewster, Portfolio Holder for Sport, Leisure and Heritage for St Albans City and District Council, joined the Mayor and hundreds of well-wishers for the event.
Artist-in-residence, Lyndall Phelps was there for the closing celebration of her installation, ‘Abundance’. During her summer residency, she transformed the top floor gallery into an evolving ‘sculptural installation’ largely celebrating many famous historic St Albans industries and displaying them with a twenty-first-century twist.
Artist Arabel Rosillo de Blas was part of the event as she dismantled and gave away the soap components of her installation.
Museum staff and volunteers gave away 117 goodie bags to lucky visitors, one for each year of the Museum’s existence.
Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, Mayor of St Albans City and District, said: “I thank the staff and volunteers for all they have done to make the Museum a centre of excellence in our District for over a century. I am grateful to the artists for their imaginative contributions, and to everyone who has worked to pack up the collections. I understand that the items are now safely stored off-site, ready to be used again in future exhibitions, projects and research.”
Cllr Annie Brewster, Portfolio Holder for Sport, Leisure and Heritage for St Albans City and District Council, said: “There has been a museum on the Hatfield Road site since the Hertfordshire County Museum was founded there in 1898. Thousands of adults and children have come through its doors over the years to discover St Albans’ story from the departure of the Romans to the present day. The District can be grateful for the St Albans and Hertfordshire Archaeological and Architectural Society’s work in establishing the Museum 117 years ago.
Cllr Brewster continued: “Closing the Museum of St Albans to the public is a hugely significant stage of the planned redevelopment of the museums’ service. In late 2017 we aim to open a new state-of-the-art museum and gallery right in the City centre. Work is underway to bring this about and to raise funds to transform St Albans’ grade II* listed Town Hall into a fabulous new museum and contemporary art gallery. Lyndall’s work has given everyone a small insight into the scope of future exhibitions that can bring our historic collections to life using various art installations. In the meantime I encourage everyone to support our fundraising activities and to take the opportunity to enjoy the events and exhibitions at Verulamium Museum and other outreach work we are planning leading up to 2017.”