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Crane Operation Marks Major Milestone in The Harris Your Place Project

9 May 2024

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in Preston is currently reaching a significant phase in its ongoing restoration project. A crane operation is underway to install Air Handling Units and roof gantries onto The Harris roof from Lancaster Road.

As part of the wider Harris Your Place project, these works are supported by Arts Council England's Capital Investment Programme specifically to improve the environmental conditions and standards of the special exhibition galleries located on the second floor, which will be named Gallery One once The Harris re-opens in 2025.

New Air Handling Units will improve the way The Harris achieves and maintains conditions in the gallery and enable The Harris to display a wider range of art works in these spaces than previously possible, working with a wide range of partners to deliver large-scale exhibitions and continuing to support high-quality cultural experiences in Preston.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council said:

"The installation of Air Handling Units and roof gantries marks a major milestone in The Harris restoration project. This operation signifies our commitment to preserving heritage while embracing environmental responsibility. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to The Harris in Spring 2025."

The Harris has a strong track record of hosting outstanding exhibitions, including Look, Listen, Make Things, by artist Bob and Roberta Smith; The Artful Line, with significant loans from The Courtauld Gallery; Lubaina Himid: Hard Times and Artist Rooms: Martin Creed, and looks forward to building on this to host an ambitious new programme in the upgraded galleries.

The Harris Your Place project, with a vision to restore and reimagine The Harris for 21st-century audiences, sees the installation of these units as a crucial step forward. The major restoration project has been made possible with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council, Towns Fund, and Local and National Trusts, Foundations and Charities.

The project aims to enhance the building's infrastructure and ensure its sustainability for future generations. By incorporating modern facilities and technology, The Harris seeks to transform into a vibrant cultural hub, offering enriching experiences to visitors from near and far.

The Harris is currently operating from other local spaces around Preston, with plans for pop-up exhibitions and events in 2024. For more information about the Harris Your Place project on visit Harris - Harris Your Place. To view previous news releases following the commencement of the works see Harris Your Place Project news.

Further Information

About the Harris

Established in 1893, The Harris, a Grade I listed building, is owned and managed by Preston City Council. Renowned as one of the region's premier museums, galleries, and libraries, The Harris hosts art collections and activities catering to all ages. With over 380,000 visitors in 2018/2019, it remains a cornerstone of cultural engagement in Preston.

We are currently delivering Harris Your Place, a major capital project made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; Towns Fund; Preston City Council; Lancashire County Council; the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; DCMS; Arts Council England, public donations and a wide range of Trusts and Foundations.

The magnificent Grade I Listed building is poised to reopen in 2025, offering a diverse array of events and activities.

About Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let's Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies responsible for administering the Government's unprecedented Culture Recovery Fund, of which we delivered over £1 billion to the sector in grants and loans. 

The Capital Investment Programme supports cultural organisations to adjust buildings and equipment so that they can operate safely post-pandemic and improve access, seize on technological opportunities, and reduce environmental impact.