The Story Museum is a work in progress. We occupy three linked – and rather dilapidated – buildings around a courtyard in the middle of historic Oxford and are in the process of redeveloping the site.
We acquired the 130-year lease in 2009, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, and have since been progressing a phased redevelopment of the site as funds allow.
Our mission is to create a permanent home for The Story Museum that celebrates stories and inspires learning and enjoyment for people of all ages, especially children and young people.
Our masterplan envisages the full transformation of all 2,000m2 across five levels and many rooms of varying shapes and sizes. The completed Museum will offer several unique creative and heritage spaces, each inviting visitors to explore all forms of story – oral, literary, visual and digital – through imaginative and interactive displays and installations.
Chapter One – open for visitors
In April 2014 we opened the first Chapter of our ambitious project and now run a six day a week programme for the public, schools and groups in our part-made Museum. We have two refurbished workshop/gallery spaces and several more spaces that we use in their current rough-and-ready state. Access and visitor facilities have been improved throughout the building, including a new shop and café, offices, an archive room and two artists/writers studios.
We are now planning for the second Chapter of works to complete our transformation over the next three years, bringing the whole site into full use. This major redevelopment includes the creation of six additional spaces including a 140-seater performance space, a dedicated early-years story-play space, a learning studio and resource room, an interactive multi-media space, an immersive ‘Enchanted Library’ and a climate-controlled Treasure Chamber for the display of fragile and heritage items. External walkways and a new external lift in the courtyard will connect the three wings of the site and for the first time make the whole building wheelchair accessible.
…what happens next?
The capital campaign target for this next and largest phase of The Story Museum’s ongoing redevelopment is just over £6 million. This will be raised from a combination of public and private sources over the next three years.
Arts Council England has confirmed a grant of £2 million towards the project and in October 2016 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a first-round pass for an application of £1.2 million. Together with funding already confirmed from a number of other individuals and Trusts and Foundations this brings our current capital campaign to just over £4 million pledged towards our goal of £6 million.
We aim to welcome Cinderella to the Ball in 2019 we just need a few more fairy godmothers to sprinkle their magic…
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Read more about the history of our building.