Doncaster’s new cultural and learning hub is going virtual with a digital opening ceremony and online tour on Wednesday, 17 March.
The Covid-19 pandemic has held opening plans back and while the building can't be physically opened just yet, it will be showcased online to a virtual audience.
With the country still in lockdown, the plans will mean people can visit from their own home. They can celebrate the opening, explore the fascinating parts of the building and watch a selection of films which will feel like a private guided tour.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “We want to share the magic of Danum Gallery, Library and Museum with as many people as possible and this online tour is the next best thing to actually being there yourself.
“The cutting edge building is designed and kitted out to inspire creativity and learning. Embracing technology to bring it to life digitally is a fitting way for people to get a taste of what they can expect when we can officially open the doors and let visitors inside once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.”
Viewers can get a close look at artefacts, collections and the fascinating spaces created from combining the wonderful elements of the former Doncaster High School for Girls and a modern, sleek design capable of providing truly world class services, exhibitions and enjoyment.
Paddington Bear, one of the many exhibits, who has followed the journey from the outset will finally be in his new home.
A 360-degree immersive experience will let online viewers wander around the unique facility uncovering some of the many gems.
A range of dedicated films featuring insights from people who made the building possible will provide viewers with an interactive tour where they can dive into more detail when something grabs their attention and stimulates their interest.
Mayor Ros, continued: “Nothing can replicate the uniqueness of the building, seeing the artwork and engaging with the exhibits in person, but digitally we can begin connecting people with an incredible selection of experiences. It will tell stories and uncover gems that will resonate with everyone to honour and remember the heritage of the great Doncaster borough.
“It was a bold move to deliver this development in the current economic climate. Bringing these services under one roof and raising the bar to a level other towns and cities will be envious of. I am rightly proud of this community asset and world-class attraction. The Doncaster borough continues to evolve for the benefit of its residents.”
“The effect of this Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating so this should sprinkle some much-needed hope and happiness into our lives whilst these difficult times continue.”
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “Danum Gallery, Library and Museum, is the keeper of our community’s culture, history and traditions. It's far more than recognition of our rich heritage though, it’s going to be a vital cog in the wheel of change for Doncaster. It’s going to empower people and bring them together.
“This step change in our learning and cultural services should inspire Doncaster residents and visitors to be ambitious, to aim high and to push boundaries. It should spur people on to move forward with their lives with a determination to succeed so they can fulfil their dreams and aspirations. Anything and everything is truly possible.”
The focal point of the new building is the front of the former Doncaster High School for Girls which has been carefully restored and encased in glass to create a truly unique feature. It comes alive in the evening and sends a statement out about what this public building is all about.
The art gallery displays some of the most important and impressive works from the Doncaster Art Collection cared for by Heritage Doncaster. There is also a dedicated gallery space to accommodate highly influential art works loaned from the likes of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Arts Council Collection, this will be a first for Doncaster.
The library offers a mix of traditional and new ways of learning. It includes dedicated spaces for families, young children and teenagers and various facilities for people to learn and carry out research. It will cater for everyone and this includes having interactive digital content which benefits people with dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as young visitors.
The museum has a fascinating blend of collections, split into various zones. This enables visitors to learn about Doncaster’s rich heritage and see how communities across the borough have changed over time. It has a superb natural history space and a special community display where local people can decide what to showcase.
The building includes a superb rail heritage centre too, including Green Arrow and No.251 locomotives loaned from the National Railway Museum. On top of this, is a remarkable selection of rail related memorabilia amassed over the years by the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection Trustees. Together it showcases why Doncaster has the lofty reputation of being ‘the home of rail’.
Visitors can also enjoy a new look King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Museum and much, much more. Doncaster will become a lifelong attraction for everyone who loves their arts and culture.
Details of where to go to see the virtual version of Danum Gallery, Library and Museum (DGLAM) from Wednesday, 17 March will be released shortly.
More information can be found at: www.doncaster.gov.uk/DGLAM
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