News Article09/09/2021

Birds of Poole Harbour and Poole Museum form new collaborative partnership after visitor centre closure

Local conservation charity Birds of Poole Harbour and popular visitor attraction Poole Museum are forming a new collaborative partnership to help interpret and highlight the harbours important birdlife and natural heritage. The partnership will see Birds of Poole Harbour initially utilise part of the Museum’s gallery and exhibition space by transferring some of their popular interactive and informative displays from their engagement centre on Poole Quay, which is due to close at the end of September.

The Poole based conservation charity has spent the last 10-years developing a series of people engagement and education initiatives including their popular School Bird Boat project, as well as working on multiple conservation projects including their pioneering Osprey reintroduction within the Poole Harbour area. In 2018 they opened their new visitors centre on Poole Quay which aimed to interpret and popularise bird conservation in and around Poole and was deemed a great success. But after a year of Covid, the charity has re-evaluated it’s focus and priorities and will be closing the exhibition space this autumn.

Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity explained;

“this is such a new and exciting opportunity for our charity, allowing us to expand, deliver and communicate our stories much more effectively and to a much larger audience. Poole Museum has a great reputation for bringing Poole’s history to life and we hope that by including information about it’s wildlife too, it provides an extra learning journey for visitors to the museum. Like all businesses, the last 18 months has really allowed us to carefully assess where we’re most effective as a charity, what our priorities are, how we can have the biggest impact whilst remaining dynamic and influential in our local area. We’re now looking to be a lot more active out around the harbour, hosting many more events throughout the year, building on our education work and forming new partnerships to really get people excited about conservation in this incredible area.”

Plans are also currently in place to transform Poole Museum creating a major cultural quayside heritage attraction for local communities and tourists. Poole Museum’s important historic buildings will be conserved and opened-up for more people to enjoy, more of the time. The plans include creating three brand new maritime displays with the community. Volunteers, local people and visitors will all contribute to and become part of a shared history of Poole.

Plans will improve the visitor experience as well as revitalising the Lower High Street and Quay, increasing visitors to museum and local area. With the support of funders and the public it’s hoped the plans will transform the Museum to a regional scale attraction at the heart of a rejuvenated, vibrant, cultural ‘Quay Quarter’.

The Poole ‘Our Museum’ project was recently awarded an initial grant of £352,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to develop future plans for our museum. This funding allowed the museum team to carry out creative consultation and collaboration with wide range of visitors, residents, partners and community groups, as well as enabling them to work with a team of professional architects and exhibition designers.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Poole Museum added;

“I am pleased that Birds of Poole Harbour and Poole Museum have come together to offer even more to our visitors. We’ve collaborated in the past and the museum has already benefited from the knowledge and passion of the charity’s team in delivering public talks and in refreshing the popular bird hide display. I hope that residents take the chance to visit again and engage with the team of ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ while they’re in residence, and at the same time find out more about Poole’s unique natural history.”

Paul Morton concluded;

“We’re at a really interesting crossroads locally with multiple exciting, new and bold conservation projects either taking place already or being planned for the future. All of which seek to restore habitats, increase biodiversity and educate the public on the richness of Poole Harbour. With Poole Museum’s perfect location combined with their long term plans, this new partnership provides a great base to continue telling these stories right in the heart of town”

The Poole Harbour Osprey reintroduction project is one of several stories the new partnership aims to tell and promote

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