The newly expanded and refurbished Northampton Museum and Art Gallery will open to the public on Saturday, 20 June.

The museum, in Guildhall Road, has doubled in size with the addition of a nine-metre-high glazed atrium extension, which links the original museum to the Old Gaol Block, now home to a new gallery, the Shoe Gallery and schools activity space.

The council lost its accreditation status for its museums in 2014, after it sold an ancient Egyptian statue 'Sekhemka' for £16 million.

It kept £8 million from the sale and after widespread criticism, said it would use some of the money to renovate and expand the museum.Being without proper accreditation means that Northampton Museum is unable to access grants and funding.

New atrium Credit: Northamptonshire Borough Council

The council hopes the update to the building will see the return of Museum accreditation.

The existing art gallery has undergone light refurbishment and will feature changing exhibitions drawn, as well as exhibitions focusing on local artists and touring shows.

The revamped History Gallery includes new displays on lacemaking and post war development of Northampton.

New teaching facilities will also be available, with a dedicated schools and activity space available for visits and workshops, alongside a central hall capable of hosting major events and for corporate hire.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said:

“Following a major renovation programme, we are incredibly excited to announce the opening date for the town’s new museum and art gallery.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Conservative
Refurbished reception area Credit: Northamptonshire Borough Council

Tom Jagger, Associate at GSS Architecture, who designed the extension said:

“We are incredibly excited about the museum opening and believe it will quickly have a positive impact on the town.

Tom Jagger, GSS Architecture

The museum opens with a new exhibition called ‘We Are Northampton’, which explores the character and history of Northampton.

There will also be a retrospective of notable Northamptonshire artist Christopher Fiddes, called ‘Challenging Perspectives,’ presenting work from his early career up to the present day.