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Museum reopens after £3.5m update
5:30pm Tuesday 10th July 2012 in Abingdon
Martha Howe-Douglas from the BBC children’s show Horrible Histories signs a book for Ella Regaard, aged eight.
AFTER six years in the making, Abingdon’s iconic County Hall Museum has reopened after a £3.5m facelift.
The 17th century museum, in the Old County Hall building in Market Place, was closed in October 2010 for the work.
About 650 people came to see the new building when it was opened on Saturday with help from actress Martha Howe-Douglas from the BBC children’s show Horrible Histories.
The museum was officially reopened at noon with the ribbon cutting accompanied by a fanfare from Abingdon Town Band and an announcement from town crier Tony Legge.
New exhibitions include a celebration of the town’s bun throwing tradition, a display about MG cars, and another on Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Curator Jane Bowen said: “It was a great day. Martha was a wonderful opener. She spent lots of time with all the children who came to see her.
“We have lots of positive comments from everyone and look forward to seeing them again for a proper look.”
The project dates back to 2006 when former curator Lauren Gilmour began applying for grants to fund the work.
Julie Mayhew-Archer, chairman of Abingdon Town Council’s museum committee, said: “We were absolutely full, which was brilliant.
“There were loads of children who came with their Horrible Histories books to be signed.”
She added: “I’m thrilled. I can’t believe it’s actually open.
“It will be a really good centre for Abingdon.”
The MG Car Club sent six vehicles for the opening ceremony.
The museum is now open from 10am to 4pm every day except Mondays.
Phil May, owner of Buns in the Basement, said: “I was really surprised at how many people came – especially bearing in mind the weather. They have had a great initial response.”