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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
James Holt

Touchstones museum to close for redevelopment as part of huge £8.5m investment into arts and culture in Rochdale

The Touchstones museum and art gallery is to temporarily close for redevelopment as part of a huge £8.5m investment into arts and culture in Rochdale.

Your Trust, which operates leisure and culture venues across the Rochdale borough on behalf of the council, has announced its plan for the temporary closure of the Touchstones building. The news follows the recent funding granted by the government’s Cultural Development Fund.

Touchstones, a cultural venue managed by Your Trust, will close in August for extensive redevelopment. The planned works are part of over £8.5 million invested into arts and culture in the borough over the next three years.

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Touchstones was also recently named as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, securing funding for the next three years of cultural delivery.

The historic Grade II listed building is home to five temporary galleries, which has showcased some of the world’s most talented artists over the years, as well as housing dedicated learning and event spaces, Local Studies Centre providing access to a wide range of archival material, a museum area and a café.

The Local Studies Centre will be temporarily closing on May 13, with the team moving the archives to a new location of Sparth Community Centre throughout May and June.

Touchstones to close for development as £8.5m to be invested into arts (ROC UGC)

All previous facilities including computer access and the archives will be available in the previously unused space at Sparth Community Centre, which will also temporarily become home to Touchstones’ Creative Education team.

The museum exhibitions will close to the public on June 3, with all exhibits and artifacts moved to storage facilities for safe keeping during the redevelopment process.

The Touchstones’ galleries will close with two final exhibitions running from June 3 to August 12, after which the doors to the building will be closed for approximately 18 months whilst the redevelopment is carried out.

Mark Doyle, Head of Arts, Engagement and Heritage at Touchstones Rochdale, commented on the redevelopment, “We’re really excited about the redevelopment plans for Touchstones, the building is a much-loved piece of history within Rochdale and its communities, and we can’t wait to see the improvements made for the future.

“Closing the building for a significant amount of time is never the ideal option, but the teams are working hard to coordinate activities and groups to ensure we’re still working acros sthe borough throughout the redevelopment.

“It’s a process which has involved a lot of planning to cause minimal disruption whilst still providing a beacon of community activities in as much capacity as possible. It’s an exciting time and we can’t wait to see the end result,”

The redevelopment will create new flexible performance and production spaces for artists, and improved areas for training, live events and exhibitions. It will also get a new retail and catering offer along with improvements to displays, archives, collections and public access.


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