The Harris appoints industry-leading contractors for museum £16 million refit

Image credit: Planning and design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

The refurbishment of The Harris has taken another step forward with the appointment of a fit-out team that will help cement the Museum’s position as one of the region’s leading visitor attractions and a contemporary cultural hub.

The Harris Your Place fit-out team comprises BECK, Orbis, Four Agency Worldwide, Click Netherfield and Lancashire County Council’s conservation team. The team will redefine the Museum’s spaces using Ralph Applebaum Associates’ (RAA) designs to enhance the visitor experience. The project is due to complete in early 2025.

Preserving the Harris’ heritage while embracing innovation, and supported by £16 million funding, the Harris Your Place project will refurbish and reimagine The Harris, a Grade I listed building.

Beyond restoration, the project will also enhance accessibility, improve services, and respond to the diverse needs of the community.

With an emphasis on engaging the local community and visitors alike, the goal is to create a cultural hub, aiming to attract an additional 100,000 visitors.

BECK is leading the implementation of RAA’s innovative design, the manufacture, installation and commissioning of the bespoke interior finishes, audio visual, interactives, exhibition power, lighting and the graphics within the Harris.

Its work will also include the exhibition infrastructure, bespoke library shelving and new café and retail displays which complement the interior design of the spaces.

Dal Chana, Group Director at BECK, said: “We are delighted to be working with Preston City Council and the professional teams on protecting this beloved building at the heart of the community, whilst creating a modern, cultural learning space for today’s audience.”

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

“We're thrilled to have such a distinguished team onboard for the Harris Your Place project. Each contractor and subcontractor bring a unique set of skills that will elevate The Harris into a cutting-edge cultural and learning space. The combined expertise of these companies is a testament to our commitment to ensuring The Harris becomes a thriving cultural hub.”

Across the building, visitor engagement will be promoted by a blend of high-tech and low-tech platforms, including a digital offer, but also being a space to ‘log off’ and enjoy authentic, hands-on experiences wherever possible. The integration of cutting-edge technology and diverse interactive elements will ensure an enriching experience, setting the stage for a revitalised Harris, a space that fosters curiosity, learning, and cultural appreciation for generations to come.

The Harris is currently operating from other local spaces around Preston, with plans for pop-up exhibitions and events in 2025.

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