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The British Motor Museum

The British Motor Museum

THE HERITAGE MOTOR CENTRE, home to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, announced a number of exciting new changes last month.

The world’s largest collection of historic British cars is re-branding the name of its venue at Gaydon to the British Motor Museum, and undertaking a major refurbishment of its Museum this winter as well as unveiling a new £4m Collections Centre.

The change of name to the British Motor Museum will more accurately reflect this Accredited Museum’s recently achieved Arts Council England ‘Designated’ status which confirms the national and international significance of its collections. An investment of £1.1m by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust will transform the Museum at Gaydon, which will close to the public from 30 November to allow the refurbishment to take place.

The changes will result in a much more visually exciting and immersive display, designed to appeal to both current fans as well as new audiences yet to experience all that it has to offer. An introductory gallery within the new visitor entrance will set the scene and flow into distinctive new themed zones, including ones for movie cars, prototypes and sports cars.

The popular ethos of allowing visitors to get up close to the exhibits will not change, but there will be different ways to view the cars, with many on raised plinths and some at eye level. Families and enthusiasts alike will be able to stroll along the Time Road, look under more open bonnets, and enjoy new interactive content including sound, film and touch screens. Whether the visitor is 3 or 103 years of age, there will be something about each car and its history to fascinate.

The final element of the multi-million revamp is the new Collections Centre. Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund, Jaguar Land Rover and the Garfield Weston Foundation, as well as the two charitable Trusts involved, the £4m project will store around 250 vehicles from the reserve collections of the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust and the Jaguar Heritage Trust. Many of these vehicles are one of a kind and most have never been seen by the public.

A new team of volunteers will take visitors on a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour to view both the cars and the conservation work in progress in the historic vehicle workshops. Entry to the Collections Centre will be included within the Museum ticket price and tours can be booked on arrival.

Julie Tew, Managing Director at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust said: “We are delighted to announce these exciting new changes which will significantly enhance our status and appeal. The Museum refurbishment and the new Collections Centre will enrich our visitors’ experience and showcase our collections to their full potential. Not only will our prized collection of 300 historic British cars be far more accessible, but our Museum will give people the chance to learn more about the past, present and future of the British motor industry, its technology and its people.”

The transition to the new name begins once the Museum closes for its redevelopment from the 30 November and the venue will be officially known as the British Motor Museum when the Museum and Collections Centre re-open to the public on Saturday 13 February 2016.

The British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (the Trust) is an independent educational charity formed in 1983. Its mission is to collect, conserve, research and display for the benefit of the nation, motor vehicles, archives and ancillary material relating to the motor industry in Great Britain and to provide a world-class motor museum and major visitor attraction providing a broad based academic and educational facility coupled to an entertaining and attractive display.

In December 2014 the Trust gained the coveted ‘Designated’ status from Arts Council England which confirms that its collections are of national significance. The Designation Scheme is a mark of distinction, identifying and celebrating pre-eminent collections of national and international importance in non-national institutions. The Scheme was established in 1997 by the Museum and Galleries Commission in collaboration with the then Department of National Heritage as a result of a commitment in the 1996 Government policy document, Treasures in Trust. The Scheme is now administered by Arts Council England, aiming to raise standards and promote best practice across the sector. (source: Arts Council England)

The British Motor Museum now consists of two buildings - the Museum and the Collections Centre. Together, these buildings house the world’s largest collection of historic British cars; including iconic cars such as the Austin 100 HP, Land Rover No1, Morris Minor No1, the first and last Mini, MG old No1 and the Thunderbirds Fab1 car. The Collections Centre also houses 50-100 cars from the Jaguar Heritage Collection.

In addition to the car collections, the British Motor Museum is home to the Trust’s extensive Archive of business, sales and technical documents, photographs and film as well as the personal papers of industry giants such as the Lords Austin and Nuffield, and Sir Alec Issigonis, all of which chart the course of the British motor industry from the 1890’s to the present day.

For more information, please visit: britishmotormuseum.co.uk

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