The Beaney Art Museum and Library, in the heart of Canterbury, Kent, will reopen this September following a £14 million restoration.
Named after its benefactor, Dr James George Beaney, a surgeon and politician, the building was donated to the people of Canterbury after his death in the 1891. It officially opened as a museum and library in September 1899, and has remained central to the art and culture scene of Canterbury even since.
The Beaney houses the work of one of Canterbury’s famous artists, the Victorian farm animal painter Thomas Sidney Cooper. The collection is of national importance and the full range of Cooper’s work will be on display.
1,000 objects will be on display at the museum, including many works not previously available to the public. The display themes will include ‘Explorers and Collectors’ and ‘People and Places’. These will be showcased in the permanent galleries alongside other special temporary displays.
The restoration of the existing Victorian building is extensive. The new extension doubles the size of the site, making room to provide state-of-the-art exhibition galleries. There is additionally a community gallery providing a new space for local artists and groups to display their work.
To appeal to children, explorer points have been installed with hands on activities related to their displays, providing excellent educational opportunities to compliment the facilities and the varied programme of interactive events for all ages.
The new look Beaney is altering the collections to enhance its new look, the classic pieces will still be on show, however it will now also feature work by contemporary artists such as Laura Thomas. Her creation of arched internal windows in many colours is at the heart of the building.
There will also be a café, shop and the Beaney will be the new home of the city’s Visitor Information Centre.
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Main Photograph: Canterbury Main Library and Museum, ©Shutterstock