The project was part of a major restoration of the historic Grade II listed Town Hall and redevelopment of the public realm around it, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, European Regional Development Fund and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.
Thematic displays were conceived as temporary exhibitions with the flexible infrastructure to support changing collections and interpretation in room sized cases supported by updateable digital media points onto which staff can easily upload new content. This has given the team the opportunity to present and celebrate the disparate and eclectic nature of the material and stories given by Barnsley folk within a coherent framework of broad accessible themes. Fundamentally it allows us to reflect what audiences want to share now but also enables the displays to evolve and respond to views, ideas and issues in the future.
The Making History gallery focuses on the ways that history is made and recorded and provides visitors with some of the tools to aid their own history discovery journey. Activity zones enable visitors to work with historical evidence to explore the built environment, objects, oral tradition, film, maps and archaeology as means of finding out about the past. Hands on and tactile exhibits enrich the experience for everyone and visitors are encouraged to develop their interests and explore their history further in the Archive Discovery Centre.