Museum wins top award

The Lion Salt Works Museum has won its sixth prestigious award since opening less than a year ago. The Museum, in partnership with BECK, one of its exhibition fit-out contributors, won the hotly-contended Restoration and Conservation category of the 2016 Museum + Heritage Award for Excellence.

The award was given in recognition of the “first class conservation techniques and science-led solutions to sensitively restore and conserve a very fragile building, in a challenging environment, which was not even originally built to last.” Now in its fourteenth year, the Museum + Heritage Awards recognises projects of excellence and innovation in museums, galleries and visitor attractions from around the UK.

One of the world’s last open-pan salt-making sites, the Museum is an Ancient Scheduled Monument, with the same protection listing as Stonehenge. The four-year £10m restoration of the Museum, was undertaken by Cheshire West and Chester Council and was made possible thanks to a £5m award from the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as grants from other organisations.*

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing said: “The Museum faced stiff competition from organisations such as the National Trust, Lincoln Castle and Bodleian Libraries and I am very proud that the quality and excellence of the Lion Salt Works Museum’s restoration shone through and was acknowledged nationally with this award. This sixth award in less than a year is further evidence that the Lion Salt Works Museum is poised to become one of the country’s foremost industrial heritage sites.

“I very much hope that visitors across the country will help us celebrate this award at our first anniversary weekend on 4-5 June. The event will feature lots of free family fun, including an imaginative Science Ceilidh, open-pan, salt-making, the chance to look around an historic narrowboat and take part in wildlife tours. There will be a range of craft activities as well as things to do at the Museum’s well-established Butterfly Garden.”

The refurbished Museum was designed by Donald Insall Associates with restoration and fit-out being undertaken by Wates Construction and BECK Interiors respectively.  RFA Design were the exhibition designers. Archaeological work on site was carried out by the Council’s in-house archaeologist.