by Jonathon Gammond, Access and Interpretation Officer at Wrexham Museum
It has been an eventful few months recently. The City of Culture bid, Wrexham FC battling to secure promotion and also the town achieving City Status. You could be forgiven for forgetting that there are plans to establish the Football Museum for Wales here in Wrexham. The spiritual home of Welsh football.
A Museum of Two Halves
Fortunately, the team at Wrexham Museum are not so easily distracted. They have been working hard with designers, architects, members of the local community and also football enthusiasts to progress what is a hugely ambitious project.
Firstly, the plan is to create an unparalleled “museum of two halves” here in Wrexham. Combining sporting and local heritage in a unique visitor attraction and community space. You know how important football is to Wrexham and how important Wrexham is to football. Our plans embody this close bond.
We are still at the early stages, but the concept drawings created in partnership with Haley Sharpe Design and Purcell Architects, leading professionals in their fields, envisage the transformation of the current museum building on Regent Street.
If you are familiar with the current museum, you’ll know that we pack a great deal into three galleries and a corridor on the ground floor. However, that is no longer enough. Under these plans, the first floor will house the permanent galleries of the Football Museum for Wales and the new Wrexham Museum.
Court No 1
The Football Museum will be in Court No 1, probably the county borough’s most magnificent and underused indoor space.
The concepts set out a new atrium at the heart of the building. The atrium will contain visual displays enticing visitors to make their way upstairs to an immersive experience. This level will get visitors in the football mood, like in the build-up to any international game.
There are then three broad themes to the football displays:
- “Loyalties and Rivalries” focuses on football in Wales at club level, from the big clubs down to the grassroots.
- “Heartbreak and Glory” tells the story of the Welsh men’s and women’s teams’ roller-coaster journey these past 150 years.
- “On the Terraces” is where we focus on the fans, the unsung heroes of Welsh Football and interactivity for younger visitors.
Court No 2
The Wrexham Galleries are focused around Court No 2. A series of smaller but atmospheric spaces on the eastern side of the building.
After an immersive introduction celebrating the people and places of Wrexham past and present, visitors will be able to explore five broad themes:
- Beginnings – where the spotlight will be on archaeology, with a redisplay of Brymbo Man, the Bronze Age and Roman material.
- Trade and Industry – this room will focus on our industrial and agricultural heritage, the development of the market town and the world of work in Wrexham.
- Conflict and Struggle – here, we highlight industrial and social struggles and setbacks. We also look at the World Wars and their impact on Wrexham and its people.
- Daily Life – this section will highlight topics such as changes in the home, the stages of life, health and medicine, and leisure and free time
- Communities – the final theme will describe the many different groups that make up Wrexham. The Penley Poles and modern multi-cultural Wrexham or the Wrexham diaspora and our many cultural festivals.
National Lottery Heritage Fund
We have made massive progress, but there is so much yet to do if we are to open the new museum in 2025. We have to secure the continued support of the Welsh Government, gain the backing of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and also persuade foundations to back this scheme.
There are no free lunches in this game!
We need your support, and we will call on your assistance to make this project happen by getting involved, spreading the word, and sharing in its development.
Finally, you can keep in touch with what is happening by:
- Following Wrexham Museums on Facebook and “footballmuseumwales” on Twitter.
- Joining the museum’s e-mail list.
- Joining the Friends of Wrexham Museums.
- Looking out for the next update in Love Wrexham.
- Visiting the museum on Regent Street. You can see the latest exhibition produced in partnership with the British Library and students from Wrexham Glyndŵr University.