News Archive

Posted: Jul 22, 2019

Building works underway

Greendale Construction handed the keys to the Priest’s House Museum at unique event which kick-starts £700k restoration project.


Emma Ayling, Museum Director,
hands over the keys to Greendale
Construction Director, Rob Hooker

Dorset Chartered Builders, Greendale Construction Limited, has been entrusted with the keys to the historic Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne. A unique live theatre event culminated in the museum’s Director, Emma Ayling, handing the keys over to Greendale Construction director, Rob Hooker, as the company embarks upon a 30-week, £700,000 major restoration and renovation project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

‘Echoes of the Past’ was exclusively performed at the museum on 7 June by the Wimborne Community Theatre, Millstream Theatre (the museum’s own theatre group for young learning-disabled people) and children from a local school. It retraced key moments from the building’s past, following different characters who have lived in the historic Grade II* listed building over the centuries. The symbolic handing over of the keys signified Greendale’s role as it adds another layer to its rich history.

The Priest’s House Museum building and adjoining Tourist Information Centre (TIC) building are formed of one original Grade II* listed townhouse. During the period the museum is closed, Greendale Construction will carry out internal alteration works throughout; including minor refurbishment in some areas and a full strip-out and redecoration in others. Changes to the front elevation will result in a new entrance to the museum and a new combined visitor reception, shop, TIC and information point. A new platform lift and ramps will allow access to the upper galleries for all for the first time. New staircases and refurbished or new doors and partition glazed screens will be installed where required. Mechanical and electrical services will be upgraded. A key element of the project is to reveal some of the townhouse’s many period features. The oldest part of the house dates back to the Elizabethan period and each subsequent generation has made its mark on the building.

The £700,000 extensive restoration work is an important aspect of the museum’s £1.6 million Revival Project, which will be completed by spring 2020. This also includes updating and upgrading exhibition and display space; enhancing the story of the historic townhouse itself by telling the story of the building and the people who have lived in the house, Wimborne and East Dorset; establishing new formal and informal learning and community programmes; building new opportunities and training for volunteers and initiating more outreach programmes to the villages of East Dorset.

The Revival Project is being made possible by generous donations and fundraising from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; H B Allen Charitable Trust; Garfield Weston Foundation; The Talbot Village Trust; The Foyle Foundation; Dorset Council; the former East Dorset District Council; The Pilgrim Trust; The Valentine Trust; The Georgian Group; Bloor Homes; Renaissance Homes; Teacher’s Building Society; The Civic Society; and the local community.

Emma Ayling, Director, Priest’s House Museum, commented: “We are looking forward to working with Greendale Construction and seeing how old and new come together in our wonderful building. The Revival Project will transform the access and facilities of the museum, provide some fantastic opportunities for volunteers in the coming months and ensure the area’s heritage is shared more widely than ever before. There will truly be a community museum for everyone.”

Rob Hooker, Director, Greendale Construction Limited, commented: "We are honoured and delighted to have been appointed on this wonderful Revival Project in the heart of Wimborne. Once completed, the Priest’s House Museum and Tourist Information Centre will be accessible to all and an absolute must visit attraction. We look forward to working with the many other people and organisations involved, in order to deliver a stunning completed project for Easter next year."

Stephen Boyce, Deputy Chair, London & South Committee for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, commented: “Thanks to National Lottery players, the home of the history and story of East Dorset will be fit for the future and for modern audiences. We’re delighted to support this project.”

Heritage Fund logo

Here you can view past news items.

Storyteller Ursula Holden Gill to perform at the museum.

Jul 22, 2019

Summer garden party in the museum's beautiful walled garden.

Jul 22, 2019

Further research to be done on the earliest known TB skeleton in Britain.

Jul 22, 2019

Greendale Construction handed the keys to the Priest’s House Museum at unique event which kick-starts £700k restoration project.

Jul 22, 2019

The museum will be running taster activities in the museum garden.

Jun 21, 2019

The museum is offering behind the scenes guided tours.

May 31, 2019

'Echoes of the Past' is a promenade theatre event commemorating the temporary closure of the museum for refurbishment and development.

May 31, 2019

SISATA and Doppelganger Productions present an outdoor production of 'Feral', a new Gypsy-Folk musical drama on the timeless theme of wanderlust.

May 13, 2019

The museum is holding a family open day exploring 'Your First World War Heritage'.

May 13, 2019

Come and join in the fun with the Little Explorers activity morning.

Mar 25, 2019

Documentary theatre production by State of Play Arts about the impact of the Great War on people living in East Dorset.

Mar 19, 2019

A day of activities for all the family with the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Feb 18, 2019

Artwork competition launched.

Dec 13, 2018

The museum is offering free entry in the run up to Christmas.

Dec 12, 2018

The museum is hosting two displays to commemorate the end of the first world war.

Nov 23, 2018

Mad Hatters beware! An exhibition at the museum features a wonderful collection of 44 different hats or forms of headwear.

Nov 23, 2018

The Victorian kitchen at the museum will be serving up Christmas Pudding.

Nov 20, 2018

A fun, festive concert with the Dorset Guitar Society.

Nov 15, 2018

A day of events to commemorate the end of the First World War.

Oct 19, 2018

Tivoli Theatre marks 25th anniversary with exhibition.

Oct 19, 2018

A 'spooktacular' family activity day.

Oct 5, 2018

Exciting opportunity for volunteers to help behind-the-scenes at the museum.

Oct 4, 2018

The museum will be visiting Hinton Martell on Thursday 11 October 2018 appealing for information from the time of the first world war.

Oct 3, 2018

The Trust is seeking to appoint up to three new Trustees to join the Trustee Board.

Sep 24, 2018

A talk that scratches the surface of the so-called 'Golden Age' and looks at how real children lived, worked and played.

Sep 9, 2018

The museum has been awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education 2018.

Aug 6, 2018

The museum has been awarded a National Lottery grant of £982,200 to fund improvements.

Jul 18, 2018

The Board of Trustees wishes to source an experienced Human Resources consultant/advisor.

Jun 18, 2018

The museum is celebrating Wimborne Minster Folk Festival.

Jun 6, 2018

A nature inspired family activity day.

May 23, 2018

Unfortunately this performance has had to be cancelled.

May 23, 2018

A family activity day to celebrate the Royal Wedding.

Apr 27, 2018

A new film will be screened at the museum.

Apr 23, 2018

A new exhibition at the museum features a wonderful collection of 44 different hats or forms of headwear.

Apr 19, 2018

A new exhibition tells the stories of two Wimborne men killed on the same day at the Battle of Passchendaele.

Apr 18, 2018

The museum's annual ticket offers so much more.

Apr 17, 2018

A fundraising concert for our Revival Project.

Apr 17, 2018

Secondhand book event at the museum.

Apr 4, 2018

'Little Explorers' activity morning for little ones.

Apr 3, 2018

Our Garden Tea Room needs the help of a few more local people.

Mar 23, 2018

Sponsor a Victorian Valentine Card as an unusual Valentine's Day gift!

Feb 13, 2018

Learning Officer (25 hours).

Jan 28, 2018

Help a new project.

Dec 14, 2017

Fun filled family activity day of Christmas themed art and craft.

Dec 7, 2017

Community Fundraising Day on Saturday 9 December.

Dec 4, 2017

Dorset County Council's Historic Environment team will be at the museum on Tuesday 28 November.

Nov 24, 2017

The entrance to the museum is now via the Tourist Information Centre.

Oct 27, 2017

Family activity day on Tuesday 24 October.

Oct 23, 2017

History of the local Ordnance Survey map.

Oct 11, 2017

We would like to hear from people who are researching their families in East Dorset.

Apr 28, 2017

Family friendly fun event.

Apr 27, 2017

Find out how you can get involved.

Apr 21, 2017

Donate Your Books

Posted: Mar 9, 2020

Please donate your books to the Priests House Museum second hand book shop. This is a great way to support your local community and all proceeds fund projects within the Museum.