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Blackpool's first-ever museum set to open in 2021

Credit: Blackpool Council

Blackpool's first museum is set to open in the town's first five-star hotel, 'Sands Venue Resort Hotel', in 2021.

The £13m museum will be named 'Showtown' and officials say that it will celebrate Blackpool's history as the UK's most popular seaside destination.

The museum will open near the iconic Blackpool Tower. Credit: ITV News

The museum will open its doors just down the road from the iconic Blackpool Tower on the seaside town's historic Promenade.

The museum has been partly funded by a National Lottery Heritage grant.

The people behind the museum say that it will be divided into six themes:

  • Beside the Seaside: The story of how Blackpool became symbolic of the British seaside holiday both at home and abroad and why people flocked to the town.
  • How’s Tricks?: Discover Blackpool’s long history as an important centre for magic, illusion and fortune telling.
  • It’s Showtime: Features comedy, music, dance performance, magic and other speciality acts that put Blackpool on the map and turned the seaside resort into a capital of show business.
  • It’s Better with the Lights On: Discover the stories behind the making of one of the world’s greatest light attractions – Blackpool Illuminations.
  • Everybody Dance Now: Find out how Blackpool became the spiritual home of ballroom dance and continues to host the biggest international dance festival in the world.
  • Roll Up! Roll Up!: A celebration of Blackpool’s international role in circus and home to the Tower Circus.
A collection of some of the memorabilia that will be on display. Credit: Blackpool Council Heritage Service

The themed spaces will be the first permanent displays in a UK public museum relating to circus, magic, variety and ballroom dance – filled with over 800 objects from Blackpool’s collections.

Items will also be showcased from Blackpool Council’s The Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens Archive – the largest collection of entertainment history in the town exploring its 125-year circus history with posters and incredible photographs.

Credit: Blackpool Council Heritage Service

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Blackpool Council Leader said: "Everyone who has worked so hard to make the Showtown dream a reality is so excited as we announce and reveal more details about this fantastic project.

"Showtown will join other iconic attractions in the town and will celebrate Blackpool’s rich heritage and its unique place in the nation’s heart."

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Blackpool is famed for its glittering Illuminations, the thrills and spills at the Pleasure Beach and the fancy footwork seen in the Tower Ballroom, so Showtown is an incredibly fitting name for the museum, celebrating the seaside town’s heritage.

"We’re incredibly proud that The National Lottery Heritage Fund have invested in the development of the museum to showcase Blackpool’s prominent position in British popular culture, as well as being a beacon for the town’s cultural regeneration."

Officials are predicting that Showtown will attract around 300,000 visitors a year, as well as creating around 40 jobs and 20 training placements.

Caroline Whitmore has been at the Blackpool Tower Circus to find out more: