Building a future for Leeds museum

A Leeds museum housed in a former workhouse is beginning a final fundraising push to help secure its future.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 1:51 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd July 2018, 1:57 pm
FOUNDATIONS: Lego Build Co-ordinator Katie Clark was one of the first to place a brick. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The Thackray Medical Museum will be inviting visitors to donate £1 in exchange for a Lego brick which will be added to a scaled down model of the building in Beckett Street.

Proceeds will go towards raising the remaining £300,000 needed to hit the £4m target for its A Healthy Future project.

It will fund gallery renovations, the creation of new innovative and engaging visitor experiences, more learning opportunities, increased access to nationally significant collections and ensure the sustainability of the Grade II listed building for future generations.

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Supporters of the project can also buy mini Lego figures of themselves to be placed in the Lego model, which will be three metres long and one metre wide when complete.

Marketing and communications officer Judith Knox said: “We have been fundraising for a couple of years but this is the final push. It opens on Wednesday as an 18-month project.”

She said the hope was that the redevelopment work could be completed by Spring 2020.

Financial support for the museum’s multi-million pound refurbishment project has already come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Welcome Trust, Thackray Medical Research Trust, Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation and Scurrah Wainwright Charity.

The building first opened in 1861 as Leeds Union Workhouse but it was absorbed into the St James’ Hospital site when it became redundant and later became part of the NHS in 1948.

It was considered unfit as a setting for practising modern medicine by the 1990s, so Parliament gave permission for it to house a museum. Opened in 1997, Thackray is now one of the UK’s largest medical museums.