St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery

Our building is closed until July 2017
for a major renovation

To talk to the St Barbe team call 01590 676969

For tourist information call 01590 675586

The Future for St Barbe: Innovative; Inclusive; Resilient

For 15 years St Barbe has kept alive the unique history of Lymington and the New Forest coast. It has established a reputation as one of the finest museums and art galleries in the region.

Now St. Barbe is embarking on an exciting new era; a £2.3 million project to transform the building, dramatically improve what it offers local people and tourists, and secure its long-term future. The Heritage Lottery Fund has now confirmed a grant of £1.78 million to help achieve this. A further £525,000 is currently being raised from charitable trusts and foundations, local authorities and the generosity of individuals.

Of this, St Barbe still needs to secure £100,000.

St Barbe is well-established and well-loved, particularly for its national quality exhibitions. We are keen to provide a landmark venue for the town, to build on our past successes, and to place community engagement firmly at the heart of all we do.” – Mark Tomlinson, Museum Director

Project Aims

  • Secure the long-term future of the museum and art gallery
  • Enhance public services to Lymington and New Forest community
  • Help people to enjoy, connect with and participate in culture and heritage
  • Transform St. Barbe into a cultural landmark building for Lymington

​Key elements of the redesign

Central to the redesign is the intention to place community engagement at the heart of St. Barbe. Key elements of the redesign include:

1. Flexible and changing exhibition space for local history displays, which will entice visitors to make repeat visits. This is a significant move away from more traditional museum exhibitions, which can be rigid and inflexible. New displays will:

  • Focus on people and their stories
  • Ensure consideration of population centres such as New Milton and local villages
  • Build a sense of place, developing an understanding of the New Forest coastal environment
  • Interpretive topics will focus on what is unique about the area, the events and people that have shaped it from prehistory to present day.

2. A purpose-built archive and storage area will give public access to ever-growing local history collections.

3. Enhanced, secure, environmentally controlled art galleries will support national standard exhibitions.

4. Improved internal layout will improve visitor flow and allow museum and gallery to function independently.

5. A large open plan front of house area will become a community hub space and destination venue in its own right, offering retail, visitor information and a café.

6. Larger, improved and well equipped activities room for schools and local groups. A striking and welcoming new façade and entrance, strengthening St. Barbe’s reputation as a cultural landmark destination.


Who will benefit?

The redesigned St Barbe will continue to build upon its tradition of serving the needs and interests of the local community, as well as attracting new visitors to the area. The following groups have been identified as key beneficiaries:

  • Local people: their heritage will be celebrated, shared, stored for future generations.
  • Target groups: elderly, rural, young adult, teenage, people with disabilities.
  • Minority and disadvantaged groups.
  • School groups, community groups, special interest groups 
and businesses.
  • Local organisations through partnership working.
  • Tourists and regional visitors
  • The local business community