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Story Museum set to open a new chapter as work starts on building
IT HAS celebrated and captured the imagination of children since it was first proposed.
And now, Oxford’s Story Museum is undergoing its very own transformation into the modern world.
Earlier this year the Pembroke Street museum announced ambitious plans for a £8m development after Oxford City Council approved the plans in December.
Builders moved in last month and are due to begin the first major part of their work next week as they knock down a ground floor wall at the museum to build a shop, cafe, gallery and two studios.
And while the work takes place, a giant comic book strip has been painted to tell the story of the museum’s transformation.
The 22m-long by 2m high hoarding was created by Oxford comic book writer and cartoonist Neill Cameron.
The 36-year-old from Headington said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of it, it is going to be a really great thing for Oxford.
“It is a brilliant idea because Oxford has an amazing wealth of history about story-telling, particularly in children’s writing, and there is nothing celebrating that fact.
“It is really cool the museum will become a fitting celebration of that tradition.”
The comic strip explains to a child why the museum is closed and all about the changes taking place.
Mr Cameron added: “It’s a huge and completely unique canvas to work on and I intend to make the most of it.”
In 2009, an anonymous donor helped the museum buy the three interconnected buildings in Pembroke Street for £2.2m.
The work starting next week is the first phase of the revamp which is planned over the next three years.
Around £750,000 has been raised in grants with another £80-£100,000 needed to complete the first part of the work at Rochester House. It includes creating a large gallery on the first floor, two studios, and a shop and café on the ground floor, facing onto Pembroke Street.
The first phase focuses on 25 per cent of the Story Museum’s total space.
The museum hopes to complete the work in 2016.
Museum co-director Tish Francis said: “It is great to finally be getting going, we have been working on the plans for many years and you can feel the transformation.
“It is a wonderful thing to be able to welcome the public throughout the year.”
The museum is currently closed, apart from occasional events, and is due to open again in April 2014.
It previously had to shut during cold winters but the work includes a new heating system.