Council sets out ‘new vision’ for Preston’s Harris Museum

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  • Arts Council awards £95,000 to boost Harris Museum
  • Preston Council and Lancashire County Council looking to pool resources to cut costs
  • Leaders exploring ways of boosting the “jewel in Preston’s crown”
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A “NEW vision” for a landmark Preston building has been set out by council bosses.

City leaders have been awarded nearly £100,000 to boost the role of the Harris Museum, to improve the “jewel in Preston’s crown”.

This is an important first step in a very ambitious change programme

And bosses at Preston Council and Lancashire County Council are looking to pool resources within the Harris Museum and library service as a way of cutting costs.

Coun Veronica Afrin, cabinet member for culture and leisure services, described the project as “ambitious”.

She said: “Preston Council has been awarded £95,000 from the Arts Council to support and enhance the offer and role of the Harris Museum.

“The Harris is the jewel in Preston’s crown and is hugely important regionally and nationally.

“Indeed, the Harris has almost limitless potential and we are exploring how, with some investment, we can build on that potential.

“We will be working very closely with potential external funders to attract new investment into the Harris offer and appoint someone to lead this project and develop a vision for the Harris Museum in the 21st and succeeding centuries.

“Lancashire County Council are our partners in this project and together we are looking to bring all the services together, including the library.

“This is an important first step in a very ambitious change programme.”

Up to £75,000 could be invested in the project, to appoint a new arts and culture development manager for the Harris.

A decision on the plans is due to be made by Preston Council’s cabinet at a meeting next week.

A report said: “The Harris is a key asset in the delivery of a vibrant community arts and cultural offer.

“It is also punching below its weight as a ‘go to destination’ in the North West region.”

Suggestions for its improvement include the development of a “new restored vision” for the Harris, a single management structure, and the pooling of funds from both councils to be used as match funding “to attract additional external investment to deliver the vision”.