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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Popular Cumbria visitor attraction is to re-open

A premier visitor attraction in Cumbria is to start its new chapter by re-opening in time for the May half term holidays.

The Beacon Museum is set to open again after Copeland Borough Council and Sellafield Ltd reached an agreement for it to be jointly run.

The award winning museum will continue to tell the story of Copeland. Starting with the geology of the area and the early settlers, the museum charts history through to the Lowther family’s development of the town of Whitehaven into one of the UK’s most significant ports, and on to the First and Second World War.

Staff are now working hard to incorporate a new-look interactive exhibition on one of the museum’s floors.

The floor tells the story of Copeland’s place at the heart of the world’s nuclear industry, from the early pioneers who built and safely ran the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, to the clean up work taking place at Sellafield today.

The museum had been threatened with closure as a result of austerity cuts, but Copeland Borough Council was successful in finding a public sector company to offer the facility a long term, sustainable future.

Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “We had to work hard to find an organisation which was prepared to fund The Beacon Museum whilst allowing it to retain its independence as a visitor attraction which can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike – that was a real deal breaker for us.

“Sellafield Ltd answered our call and what has been produced is a visitor experience that’s bigger and better than it was before, with more to see and do for the young and young at heart, but which retains the integrity and independence that the Beacon is renowned for.”

Sellafield Ltd’s stakeholder relations director Rory O’Neill said: Sellafield Ltd is the backbone of the community in West Cumbria, and nuclear has been at the heart of local industry for over 60 years.

It is important to us that people get to see that story, told in an interactive way that engages with young and old.

“For us to have the chance to tell the Sellafield story whilst at the same time supporting such a fantastic community asset as The Beacon Museum was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“The new exhibition is honest, engaging and interactive, and best of all it’s in keeping with the other fantastic exhibitions on show in the museum, charting the proud heritage of this part of the world.”

A joint team from Sellafield Ltd and Copeland are now supporting Beacon staff on getting the facility ready to open ahead of the May half term holidays on May 24th. An official opening – complete with a celebrity guest – will follow.

To find out more about The Beacon please visit www.thebeacon-whitehaven.co.uk

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