Refurbishment of Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery
Brecknock Museum was started in 1928 in a building leased and then bought by the Brecknock Society. It continued to be run by the Society until 1951 when management was transferred to the then Breconshire County Council. With the creation of the county of Powys in 1974, the Museum was relocated in the former Shire Hall (Grade 2* listed) in the heart of Brecon and management was passed to Powys County Council (PCC). The Brecknock Society (latterly joined up with Museum Friends - BS&MF and registered as a Charity) has always assisted in the operation of the Museum.
The Brecknock Museum with its expanded Art Gallery has come to be recognized as one of the finest small museums in Wales. Its collections relate to the whole of the former county of Breconshire (Brecknock) and include nationally important artefacts such as the early Medieval log boat from Llangors Lake and an exciting art collection comprising work by many well-known artists (Thomas Jones, John Varley, David Jones, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Josef Herman, Eric Ravilious) who, since the 18th Century, have visited or lived in this beautiful area. Over the years, the BS&MF has been actively involved in securing funds for the museum, often via art auctions.
y Gaer project In 2013, Powys County Council sought Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) support, under its 'Connecting Communities' programme, for a very necessary refurbishment of the Museum. With Welsh Government encouragement and Powys CC lead, this became an imaginative scheme to create a 'cultural hub' in which the renovated museum and art gallery will take its place alongside a new Brecon library and a café, together with shared facilities for education and community use. See Prospectus for y Gaer here. Work began on site in August 2016 and the completed y Gaer is expected to open in April 2019.
Together with the HLF, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, the Welsh Government and the Brecknock Art Trust, another local charity, the BS&MF is a funding partner in the part of the y Gaer project that is renovating the Museum & Art Gallery in the Shire Hall. The BS&MF is able to contribute £195,000 towards the overall £13M project costs as a result of having sold the original Museum building in 2010.
Additional projects In order to keep costs of the y Gaer project down, at what is a very difficult time for local authorities, some specific items were left out of the core y Gaer project, leaving a funding requirement for distinct 'additional projects'. Collectively, the partners in the y Gaer project have taken up the challenge of raising these funds - together currently totaling £300,000 - grouping them together under the title 'Enhancing the Visitor Experience'.
For BS&MF's part, and taking advantage of our status as a charity, the BS&MF has raised £114,300,
specifically for the Museum & Art Gallery. This has funded two additional projects: (1) a
Conservation & Display project (£61.3K) to conserve nine significant objects in the Museum
& Art Gallery and to provide additional display cabinets, and (2) an Interpretation project
(£53.0K) to provide 45 touchscreen terminals to display interpretative information about the
Museum & Art Gallery’s exhibits.