Black Country Living Museum’s £30m redevelopment project, ‘Forging Ahead’, has received an investment boost from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
£711,000 has been invested, primarily to help meet the challenges of cleaning up derelict parts of the site.
The Forging Ahead project is the Museum’s largest development since it opened in 1978, and will include a brand-new visitor welcome centre, learning spaces, industrial quarter, and historic high street.
The project includes the expansion of the visitor experience and allowing for half a million visitors a year.
The new attractions at its site in Dudley are designed to give visitors the experience of life in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The first phase of the project features 26 historic buildings and structures.
Work to recreate Wolverhampton’s Elephant and Castle pub has already been completed, and Dudley’s Woodside Library will be rebuilt as one of the main landmarks of the new historic high street.
Once complete, it is expected that the Forging Ahead will create more than 140 new jobs at the Museum and within the local area, 30 of these as a direct result of the WMCA’s investment.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The Museum already does a wonderful job of whisking people back in time to explore the Black Country’s amazingly rich heritage and the new Forging Ahead development will supercharge that experience further still.”
Andrew Lovett OBE, chief executive at Black Country Living Museum, said the project “will widen our storytelling and introduce our visitors to new Black Country characters and stories that they might not be familiar with.
“The feedback from our visitors following the opening of the Elephant and Castle pub has been wonderful, and we can’t wait to bring other beloved buildings back to life and expand the visitor experience.”