Preston’s local history and fine art museum The Harris has announced the date it will temporarily close its doors to carry out upgrades.

From 2nd October 2021 a programme of structural works and layout improvements to the Grade I-listed building through to 2024.

Formerly known as The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Preston Free Public Library before a rebrand last year, it reports that its library will be moved to a new temporary home in the Guild Hall from 18th October.

The renovation is part of the ‘Harris Your Place’ campaign, a £10 million project to restore and reimagine the Harris as a “21st century community, cultural and learning space”.

The scheme is the result of collaboration between Buttress Architects Ltd, Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Focus Consultants.

Plans first revealed last year show that the planned updates are designed to better showcase the building’s original entrance, introduce a new internal lift and staircase, and install a ground floor Changing Places facility to make the site far more accessible.

Chartered Institute of Fundraising October 2021
The Harris artists impression image courtesy of Buttress Architects Ltd

The National Lottery Heritage Fund approved funding for the project, and provided the final £4.5m needed for the scheme. The grant joined a further £3.6m already committed by Preston City Council; Lancashire County Council; the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; Arts Council England and the Friends of the Harris.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, Cabinet member for community and cultural services at Lancashire County Council said the closure was a “key milestone in the journey to realising the ambitious Harris Your Place project for Preston and Lancashire.”

“This is an exciting time for The Harris and we can’t wait for the project to begin to preserve and celebrate The Harris’ original features and protect them for future generations to enjoy.”
Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Matthew Brown, added:

“While it is sad to see the doors of the iconic Harris building temporarily close, this is the culmination of years of work to establish the right plans and secure funding for this important and beloved Preston asset.

“This is a key step forward in delivering the Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme, which sees significant investment into projects that represent positive change in the city. It is a strong example of the power of collaboration and commitment to delivering our ambitions for Preston that benefits everyone.”

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