BROMSGROVE Museum could be reopening in the town at a new location, the Advertiser can reveal.
And the Friends of the Norton Collection Charitable Trust is reopening the old Birmingham Road museum as a special one-off this weekend, (February 8 and 9), as part a new fund-raising campaign that has been launched.
The museum was closed by Bromsgrove District Council in January 2008, citing the spiralling running costs and a drop in visitor numbers.
In the years since, campaigners have attempted to take over the running of the museum and reopen it to the public, but progress has been slow.
Last July there looked to have been a breakthrough as the authority accepted a £200,000 offer from the trust to buy the building.
The trust was given six months to raise this money, but during this time the trust considered alternate locations, and switched attention to buying the Steps House building.
The St John Street location became vacant after previous occupiers, Scotts Holt & Sellers, was taken over by mfg Solicitors LLP.
The trust say the building is ideal as it offers a town centre position, with potential for expansion so more items could be displayed.
To secure the building the trust needs to raise the purchase price of £250,000 by the first week in March. Additional extra funding will also be sought to comply with health and safety regulations, ensuring the building complies with modern disability access standards.
A fund-raising campaign is underway and this weekend the former Birmingham Road museum will reopen to Bromsgrove residents.
During the opening days interested parties will be able to sign up to become a member of trust, and have the opportunity to become a fund-raiser.
Souvenirs will also be given out, including an image of the construction of Liverpool's Liver Birds made by the Bromsgrove Guild.
Dennis Norton, who donated his lifetime's collection of around 25,000 artefacts to the museum, said: "We have found the best location for the collection - it is an ideal site for the museum and I hope the building becomes the permanent home.
"It opens up lots of possibilities."
Andrew Harris, the trust's chairman, said: "We are very anxious to get the museum open again. We have got a lot of support but sadly not too much time.
"We would encourage people to come along to the old museum this weekend."
The campaign has already attracted the support of Bromsgrove-born Lord Digby Jones, a former Government minister and Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry.
Lord Jones said: "It is essential Bromsgrove has a quality museum, to sustain knowledge of the heritage and history of our great town for future generations.
"I am delighted to be associated with the project and will do all I can to help make it the success it deserves to be."
The old museum will be open this Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm both days.
Anyone unable to attend but who is interested in supporting the trust is asked to contact Mr Norton by writing to The Forge, Broad Green, B60 1LW.