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Kendal art gallery to undergo multi-million pound renovation

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Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal is getting ready to close its doors for a £9.6m redevelopment.

The museum has been home to Rembrandts, Monets, Canalettos and a Rodin sculpture, amongst others.

It will close for two years, beginning on the 1 of February.

The news was announced this week by operators Lakeland Arts who said the closure and refurbishment were necessary. Liz Moss, Chief Operating Officer, Lakeland Arts said: "We have worked in the past with great international artists, some of whom want to work with us but have said that given the current conditions of the Abbot Hall building they didn't want to display their work here so we're having to bring it up to sort of contemporary museum standards.

"We are levelling floors throughout the building to make the building accessible for people who can't use stairs so there's a ramp into the building. There'll be new lifts and particularly on the top of the building we're levelling that out so people can get around far more easily.

"Much more appropriate lighting, security and all the things you need to run a modern gallery today."

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The redevelopment involves Abbot Hall Art Gallery, some existing storage buildings facing Abbot Hall Park and the grounds in between those areas. There will be a new dedicated learning centre for schools and local communities, new shops, more exhibition space and a community gallery.

Work is planned to finish in time for the hall’s 60th birthday in 2022.

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Lakeland Arts has also confirmed that there will be several job losses.

South Lakeland District Council gave the project £100,000, and have requested that as many jobs as possible be saved.

It's very sad that we are having to look at some posts becoming redundant particularly those that are in forward-facing roles, such as cafe, shop, front of house because we no longer have a site that will be opening.

– Cllr Robin Ashcroft, SLDC
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