Ambitious plans to transform Bolton Museum into a world attraction to go head WITHOUT lottery funding
Town hall chiefs are to press ahead with £3.8 million plans to showcase its world renowned Egyptology collection without the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
The cost will instead be met by a Bolton Council capital funding grant, income from the museum’s touring exhibition and a contribution from sponsor Eddie Davies.
The investment — which is expected to draw in crowds from around the world — will create a new gallery to replace the museum’s current Egyptology exhibition.
The centrepiece will be a full size reproduction of the burial chamber of Thutmose III — the importance of which has been compared to the cave paintings, Lascaux II in France.
It was hoped the project would attract £1.8 million Heritage Lottery Funding with the museum having received a £115,500 lottery grant in 2012.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: "In order to gain permission to start work on the project by HLF and subsequent release of the grant, we entered into a period of negotiations regarding the specific details of the scheme.
"During this period we were able to redesign the scheme to make better use of existing gallery spaces and also address urgent maintenance issues, which are essential for the long term sustainability of the building.
"However, if we had submitted these plans to HLF we would have been required to re-apply for funding.
"HLF understands this, and we feel the new plan provides better value for money and will ultimately provide visitors with a higher quality experience."
The new look gallery could be open to the public by Spring 2018.
The walk-through, interactive experience with the tomb of Thutmose III at the heart of the transformation will remain.
And the exhibition will be created using existing gallery space rather than, as had been planned, building additional floor space on the roof of the current library.
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said: "The museum is a huge asset to the Bolton family.
"It is one of the top tourist attractions in Greater Manchester, with a respected international reputation for its Egyptology collection.
"I remember taking my own children to the museum — and now my grandchildren — as I am sure is the case for many families across the borough, and it is important to ensure we undertake the highest standard of work that does justice to its historic significance.
"We are confident that our new scheme will be able to address any maintenance issues, as well as deliver a fantastic new gallery for our Egyptology collection which has been on the cards for some time as part of our overall strategy to regenerate the town centre.
"We are very excited about the project and can’t wait to get started for the benefit of the museum and our visitors."