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Half a century on from its birth, the ‘new city’ of Milton Keynes is an undoubted success story, a model for new communities across the globe.
Its success is built on the vision of our founders, architects and planners – as well as the energy, creativity and efforts of all of us who built our homes, families, businesses and futures within its borders. Now we plan to tell that story – our story – in two major new galleries at Milton Keynes Museum.
With the expansion we have the chance not only to complete our story right up to the present day, but an opportunity to create a legacy for future generations together. We need your help to do so.
Become a sponsor or founder TODAY and help us tell the story of what we built!

What does the expansion entail?

Milton Keynes has just celebrated its 50th birthday and has nationally significant stories to tell through a local perspective. Our expansion project is creating a new purpose-built building featuring two new galleries:

Ancient Milton Keynes – whose exhibits will include one of the most important collections of archaeology in the UK. No similar area’s archaeology has been as well studied as Milton Keynes’ and therefore its significance extends much wider than the local area.
We will use exciting hands-on interpretation to enable visitors to properly understand the artefacts
and bring them to life. Other highlights of this gallery will be an immersive theatre, the Roman occupation and Watling St; the Wars of the Roses, and the role of key local figures in the development of medicine and public health.

New Milton Keynes – which will tell the story of the New Town’s creation as a Utopian vision, and the people who have come here from all over the world. It will tell a local story that has international significance, making connections between, and posing questions about, the Milton Keynes experience and the big challenges facing communities today. The gallery will be people-focused using oral history, Living Archive recordings and contemporary film.

The gallery buildings were completed at the end of 2017 and after a period of environmental conditioning, the exhibition fit will commence in stages as we funds become available. By becoming a sponsor you’re helping to make that happen.

Why do we need the expansion?

We believe a museum is an essential part of any new community; a powerful way to bring people together, and to give such a population roots and a sense of common heritage, no matter where they are from. In the next ten years Milton Keynes will have a population the size of Bristol or Cardiff, with more than 80% arriving from other parts of the UK or internationally.

Image shows work commencing on the galleries exteriors: the ancient gallery is being covered in a white block while the modern MK gallery is being clad in metal shingles

Milton Keynes inhabitants working as volunteers have spent decades preserving our past, building a museum to share with others. However, our site has now reached capacity and urgently needs to expand and develop. This will enable us to fulfil our potential as a leading social history museum, bringing to life our extensive collection through vibrant and engaging exhibits fit for future generations.
It is essential that the full scale of our plan is realised so we can continue to provide an accessible, cultural and educational facility for everyone, preserving and celebrating our heritage past and present; this is why we need your generous support.

Individual Sponsor

Join a special circle of generous individuals to help us plan ahead, build an exciting future for our Museum and make a real difference to our community.

CONTRIBUTION
From £1,250 (or £250 annual minimum contribution guaranteed for five years)

BENEFITS
• 10 annual guest passes for use by your family and friends
• Invitations for you and a guest to the official opening of each of the new gallery spaces with personal acknowledgement in the event programmes
• Plaque on our eye-catching supporters’ wall in the foyer of the new gallery spaces*
• Invitation to expert lectures during the year, including an annual drinks reception and briefing from our Museum Director
• Listing in the Museum guidebook 
• Listing on our website
• Priority booking for ticketed events such as Santa visits
• Sponsor certificate and pin badge
• Regular e-communications

Corporate Sponsor

Join our generous network of local businesses to help us plan ahead, build an exciting future for our Museum and make a real difference to our community.

CONTRIBUTION
From £2,500 per year, or guaranteed £500 minimum payment for five years
BENEFITS
• 10 family passes for use by your colleagues and their families
• Invitations to the official opening of each of the new gallery spaces with brand acknowledgement in the event programmes
• Plaque on our eye-catching supporters’ wall in the foyer of the new gallery spaces
• Volunteering opportunities for staff
• Invitation to expert lectures during the year, including an annual drinks reception and briefing from our Museum Director
• Listing in the Museum guidebook, on our website and publicity for your support via local print and online media and our own social media
• Priority booking for ticketed events such as Santa visits
• Sponsor certificate to display in your office
• Regular e-communications

MUSEUM FOUNDER

Become a leading partner in the transformation of our Museum and receive the displayed benefits as thanks for your extraordinary support.

CONTRIBUTION
From £25,000 (or £5,000 annual minimum contribution guaranteed for five years)
BENEFITS
• 20 family passes for use by your nominees and their families
• Access to the site for a corporate or private ‘family day’ each year
• Access to naming rights for a new gallery, an existing gallery or exhibit for larger donations in the Founder category
• The highest level of brand acknowledgement through our print and digital channels, with a bespoke communications plan to promote your support on social media and local press
• Invitations to the official opening of each of the new gallery spaces with brand acknowledgement in the event programmes
• Plaque on our eye-catching supporters’ wall in the foyer of the new gallery spaces
• Volunteering opportunities for colleagues or friends
• Invitation to expert lectures during the year, including an annual drinks reception and briefing from our Museum Director
• Listing in the Museum guidebook, on our website and publicity for your support via local print and online media and our own social media
• Priority booking for ticketed events such as Santa visits
• Sponsor certificate
• Regular e-communications

We’d love to show you what we’re doing and answer your questions about getting involved.
To arrange a visit or to discuss how we can support each other please call 01908 316222 or email bill.griffiths@mkmuseum.org.uk
We look forward to continuing our story together.

Who’s involved in the expansion?

A host of top names feature in the team that has  been brought together to transform Milton Keynes Museum into a national attraction.

The Museum’s £7.5 m expansion through two major new galleries telling the area’s story from pre-history right through to the present day, was announced in March 2015 – made possible through funding from Milton Keynes Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (stage one funding) and Arts Council England.

Designing the new spacious galleries  is the award-winning practice Nicholas Hare Architects,who have recently won contracts to design a base for the London Film School within the Barbican and are now building a new costume centre for the Royal Opera House.

Lead architect John Leonard said: “We were fascinated by the museum’s existing collection and fully support its aim to capture and display the unique history of Milton Keynes.  This expansion is a tremendous opportunity to build high quality galleries and in so doing revitalize the experience for visitors.”

The key role of exhibition design – creating the displays and stories that will captivate future visitors – has been awarded to Mather & Co. Mather’s extensive list of prestigious credits include The Olympic Museum, the National Football Museum, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, York Minister Revealed and the Springbok Experience in Cape Town.

Their job will be to bring alive the story from pre-history through to the 1800s – including bringing back the rich archaeology of this area – and the story of the Milton Keynes’ creation and development as a new city. This gallery will include special exhibition areas for some of the region’s most successful and innovative businesses, among them Marshall, Red Bull, MK Dons and Niftylift.

Project lead Chris Mather said: “We can’t wait to start exploring the rich stories and collections held by the museum and challenge people about what they think they know about Milton Keynes. We will be bringing some of the very latest technologies and techniques to this project, so that we can immerse visitors in the full history of this area for the very first time.”

Project objectives

Our objectives are to:

  • Provide all the people of Milton Keynes with a story of their shared heritage that will help them develop roots and a sense of place. Our two new galleries will tell a story of Milton Keynes that will provide all our residents with a shared heritage and help establish strong roots for a population that consists almost entirely of incomers.
  • Create an expanded Museum that captures the area’s evolution from prehistoric times, with enhanced visitor facilities and interpretation. The new galleries will maintain the hands-on history ethos of the existing Museum, but allow us to provide an even more exciting, quality, locally-based cultural facility for the communities of Milton Keynes, and for national and international visitors.
  • Bring home the wealth of significant archaeology found in this area. Milton Keynes has had more archaeological investigation than any other similar area in the UK but the important finds are currently dispersed to other museums or in storage. For the first time we have a chance to bring these artefacts together so that local people and visitors can better understand the lives of people who lived here long ago.
  • Capture and interpret the many local stories that are an important part of the national story. Far from being ‘just a new town’, our central position in the country means the area has been at the heart of many important historical events. Visitors will be taken on a chronological journey to look at life in this area before humans arrived, and then be immersed in scenes from all the main periods in history – from the discovery of the UK’s largest Bronze Age villa to Wolverton’s birth as the world’s first railway town.
  • Explore the story of the ‘new city’, the largest, most ambitious and arguably most successful of the new towns. Milton Keynes attracted some of the ‘brightest and best’ among architects, planners, businesses, and people who had the drive to dare and experiment. But 50 years on from designation time is running out to capture the stories of these people – their ideas, successes and failures that have influenced developments in the UK and worldwide ever since. A key element of the modern MK gallery will be telling ‘the people’s story’ – recognising the contributions of so many, including those of the many waves of immigration that have led to such a rich mix of cultures and diverse population.
  • Respond to the huge increase in visitors by improving flow and accessibility in the existing galleries. In the last two years annual visitor numbers have grown from 20,000 to 45,000. The expansion provides for relocating our busiest galleries such as the schoolroom, resurfacing hard-to-access areas, providing a dedicated schools and community education centre, as well as enhancements to some existing displays.
  •  Create enhanced storage and care for existing collections. The expansion is an opportunity to establish a central facility for dealing professionally with our own and other collections currently outside of Milton Keynes or in offsite storage.
  •  Continue to build on what has been achieved. Development will continue as a responsive, innovative and engaging museum that is loved by its visitors but owned by all the people of Milton Keynes.