Countdown is on for the opening of Barnsley’s latest top attraction

Finishing touches are being made to the new £4.3m Experience Barnsley museum which opens its doors next week.

The new attraction, which spans two floors of Barnsley’s distinctive Town Hall, opens on June 27 with a colourful public celebration at 2pm.

The Town Hall building will be swathed in a giant ribbon which members of the public will be invited to cut ceremonially to open their museum.

Thousands of visitors are expected to pack the new town square outside the Town Hall which will have a free children’s carousel, musical entertainment and attractions to represent Barnsley throughout the ages, from an animatronic dinosaur to giant stilt-walking sportsmen.

Mayor of Barnsley, Coun Ken Richardson will be on hand to introduce Barnsley-born Capital FM presenter Simon Hirst, who will be delivering the countdown to the 2pm opening.

The museum and galleries will then be open seven days a week and admission is free.

Coun Steve Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Council said: “Experience Barnsley will be great fun for the whole family. Whether you’re interested in football, fashion, our industrial story or how our stone-age ancestors lived, there will be something for everyone.

“Many of the exhibits have been kindly donated. It really is a museum for the people by the people and I’d like to invite everyone to come along and join in the launch.”

Among the exhibits close to the hearts of visitors is a much-loved children’s roundabout which operated in Barnsley Market for decades.

The bus from the popular ride will be placed in the museum café for children to play on while the carousel horses on poles will be suspended from the ceiling. Other parts of the roundabout will be kept safe in storage.

The roundabout has been loaned by Stewart Robinson, whose family has run Robinson’s Family Funfairs for many years.

Stewart, who is Barnsley born and bred, said: “My father James bought the roundabout in 1959 when I was seven. Before that a company called Slaters had owned it, so the roundabout is getting on for being 100-years-old.

“When the markets reopened in the 70s after a refurbishment, we put the roundabout inside the building which helped to preserve it as most fairground rides are outside in bad weather.”

The roundabout remained in the market until last year when it became difficult to make it financially viable.

Stewart, aged 61, was keen for it to remain in the town.

Experience Barnsley is supported by just over £2.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and The Humber, said: “This imaginative project has transformed Barnsley’s 1930s landmark Town Hall into a state-of-the-art museum and archives centre, providing a heritage hub for the borough and a focal point for many exciting cultural and learning activities.”

Picture shows Stewart Robinson with one of the much-loved Barnsley Markets Roundabout carousel horses, which he has donated to the museum.




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