An extravaganza of heritage and culture is up-and-running in the town centre, with the opening of Warrington Museum & Library’s temporary new home.

Families heading to Golden Square shopping centre can now enjoy the vibrant, new Pop-Up Museum & Library.

These much-loved services have temporarily upped-sticks and moved over to the shopping centre to allow for essential maintenance work to be carried out on the historic Museum Street building.

Emma Hutchinson, managing director of Culture Warrington and LiveWire - the sister companies that operate the museum and library, can’t wait to share the big reveal with the Warrington community this weekend.

She said: “Staff from the Museum & Library have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to create an inspiring new space for our visitors and I’m thrilled with the results.

“Featuring highlights from both the museum and library, the Pop-Up is an exciting, engaging burst of cultural activity that will grow and develop over the coming weeks as Covid restrictions begin to lift.”

For now, visitors can access all of the Museum & Library’s essential services, including book lending, IT and archives services, and highlights from the museum’s extensive collection, with plans in place for the long-awaited return of reading, digital, and craft activities very soon.

The unit is open between 10am and 4.30pm on weekdays, 10am to 4pm on Saturdays, and 11am to 3pm on Sundays.

Meanwhile, the 164-year old, Grade-II listed building in Museum Street will be closed for approximately six months while restoration work is completed, including vital repairs to the roof, after which the services will return to their permanent home.

Emma Hutchinson continued: “Although it’s disappointing not to be reopening in our own home for now, we’re delighted to be able to continue providing these much-loved services for the community through our Pop-Up Museum & Library.

“Both Warrington Museum and Central Library are integral to the fabric of the town centre, so the continuation of cultural provision during this temporary closure was a project we were determined to deliver.”

Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for arts and culture, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “The refurbishment of Warrington Museum & Library is a vital part of our work to protect one of our key cultural assets, for the future. While this work is carried out, it’s vital that we continue to provide a focal point to celebrate our rich cultural heritage, particularly as more and more people return to the town centre.

“The new pop-up museum & library, in its prominent town centre position, will enable us to do just that. I’m delighted it is now welcoming visitors, ensuring we continue to tell Warrington’s story and keep everyone connected to culture, until the refurbishment works are complete.”

The council’s Cabinet Member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, added: “We’ve made a commitment to invest in the future of our libraries, and Warrington Central Library – which is 164 years old and a Grade II listed building - is an important part of that. These renovation and repair works are about preserving our heritage and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the first rate-supported library in the UK, so it is fit for the future.

“I’m delighted that, while this vital project is carried out, Warrington Museum & Library’s services have relocated to a new, temporary home in the heart of our town. The pop up museum & library in Golden Square is ideally placed to serve as a hive of literature, learning, creativity, heritage and culture, to be enjoyed by everyone who visits our town centre.”