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Historic Hall in Stockton officially re-opens after £7m revamp
7:00am Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
A GRADE II-listed museum was transformed into a huge movie screen last night (Wednesday, March 13) to celebrate a a £7m restoration.
The number of visitors to Preston Hall Museum at Eaglescliffe, near Stockton has soared since reopening last July.
To celebrate the successful transformation a specially-commissioned 3D move, Lustre, was projected on to the building.
About 100,000 visitors were expected in the first year of Preston Hall Museum’s re-opening.
However, about 108,000 visitors have already gone through the doors in just eight months. Before the restoration about 80,000 people would go to the museum each year.
The Northern Echo attended a pre-screening of the film, by Novak Collective, and more than 1,000 people were expected to attend last night.
The movie, set to music, starts with giant butterflies which are replaced with the Locomotion No 1, the world’s first passenger train, which passed in front of the hall on its historic first journey.
The 15-minute film then highlights other objects held in the museum.
Reuben Kench, Stockton Borough Council’s head of culture and leisure, said the restoration of the hall, which sits in a 110-acre park, had been a huge success.
He said: “We have a fantastic collection which many people just weren’t aware of and it’s been useful to present them in a new way.
"A great example is our famous Georges de la Tour painting The Dice Players which was lit up in room on its own, shrine-like. Now it’s displayed with other objects of the time, as if it was in a family home.”
Professor Richard Morris, OBE, of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which supplied half the money for the refurbishment, pointed to the interactive side of the museum, which has a recreated Victorian Street, as a key reason for its success.
He said: “More people go to heritage centres and events than go to football matches. Heritage is actually important for the economy.”
The rest of the money for the two-year refurbishment came from Stockton council.