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The plans outlined below run until 2018 and are part of a long-term strategy which has already seen us achieve much within our various sites, using our own resources and with support from City of York Council and Arts Council England, trusts, foundations and local businesses.
York Castle Museum
Work has begun on a £2 million project to develop the first and second floors of the Debtors' Prison side of the museum, which currently houses the Costume, Toys and Military displays, as well as behind-the-scenes offices and storerooms.
Major new display areas will be created on the first floor, which will host a new exhibition about the First World War from 2014 - 18. This will look at military and social history, using individual histories from York people, and will change over the five-year period.
The development will also see new offices, meeting rooms, secure stores and learning spaces being created on the second floor. Public access to both floors will be improved, with the addition of a new lift.
This project is expected to be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£1.5 million), £250,000 from Arts Council England with £250,000 match funding to be secured from other sources.
We will also be working with English Heritage on ideas to position the whole Castle Area as a major tourist destination, featuring Clifford's Tower opposite (run by English Heritage) and the medieval castle remains within the museum.
York Art Gallery
We have embarked on a major £8 million project to develop York Art Gallery.
This work will involve the whole of the original 19th century grade 2* listed building, including the space currently occupied by York City Archives and the hidden space above the Main Gallery (often referred to as "the Secret Gallery").
It will create a 60 per cent larger exhibition space, enabling more of the permanent collection to be on display, the Centre of British Studio Ceramics, a suite of three interlinked exhibition galleries on the ground floor, a new and larger learning space, a new shop, cafe and extra toiilets, and a new garden entrance and balcony.
This project is due to start in January 2013, with the gallery re-opening in early 2015.
We are also working on plans to make Exhibition Square a wonderful, public square by 2015, in partnership with City of York Council, who have responsibility for the square and other major stakeholders in the city.
You can find out more about these plans in our new exhibition devoted to them in the Little Gallery, which runs from 21 April - 31 December 2012 or visit our York Art Gallery Development Project web page for a summary.
During the closure we will organise a touring exhibition around Yorkshire of about 40 of our paintings. We will also lend a substantial amount of the WA Ismay collection of British Studio Pottery to the Hepworth, as Ismay came from Wakefield, as well as some paintings to the Hepworth, Leeds Art Gallery, the National Gallery and Tate.
York St Mary's
York St Mary's, York Art Gallery's contemporary art venue, will have its opening hours extended during the closure of the gallery.
During 2013, it will open from March to November, and will feature three exhibitions, the Aesthetica International contemporary art exhibition, an installation by ceramicist Julian Stair and an Artists Room from Tate.
York Museum Gardens
The Museum Gardens will be extended by around 20 per cent as part of the York Art Gallery project, with the opening up of an area at the back of the gallery, and we are developing a master plan for the gardens for the period 2012 - 18.
Our amibitions include becoming a nationally recognised botanic garden with its own distinctive character. The gardens will be an extension to the cultural life of the city, a recreational green space, accessible to all.
Following the success of 2012's York Mystery Plays and the Illuminating York Festival of October 2012, we plan to provide more interpretation of the Museum Gardens and opening up the Multangular Tower as a partnership youth project.
The Yorkshire Museum
The Yorkshire Museum is planning three major exhibitions over the period 2012-18. The first about Yorkshire's Prehistory, focussing on Star Carr, a Mesolithic site near Scarborough, Bronze Age 'landscapes of the dead' on the North York Moors and thirdly Arras cultures from the Yorkshire Wolds and the North York Moors.
The second exhibition will be about Sea Dragons, the outcome of a joint research project with Scarborough Museums Trust, the Natural History Museum and other local museums focussing on sea creatures from the Jurassic period.
The third will look at Alcuin and the Anglians - focusssing on the renowned York scholar, Alcuin and the period when York was "Eoforwic", sandwiched between the Roman and Viking periods.