A major transformation and successful redevelopment of The Higgins Bedford, following a £5.8million investment, has celebrated its fifth birthday.
On 21st June 2013, The Higgins Bedford re-opened to the public in a transformed art gallery and museum located in the historic buildings of Castle Brewery and the adjoining Victorian family home, both built by the Higgins family in the mid-19th Century.
Since then The Higgins Bedford has created and hosted a huge variety of exhibitions featuring world-renowned artists such as Turner, Picasso and Bawden, the ‘Break the Stigma’ exhibition around mental health, projects around local history such as the recent ‘Short Brothers’ Airships’ or the current ‘Celebrating Women of Bedfordshire’ exhibition, and displays of local children’s artwork.
The Higgins Bedford has also become a community hub with activities for children during the school holidays, events and stalls with Bedpop and other partners, and hosting wellbeing activities including Mindful Sports.
To mark the museum and art gallery’s fifth birthday, the Friends of The Higgins Bedford hosted a ‘Thank You’ event for the museum’s wonderful volunteers. On 21st June, the museum also received a ‘Reminiscence Box’ from the Retired Caribbean Nurses Association (Bedford) documenting the experiences of retired Caribbean nurses locally with photos, oral histories, and artefacts.
Looking ahead, later this year the museum will have a project marking the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush ship arriving with immigrants from the Caribbean to England and is looking for volunteers to help collecting stories and experiences.
Cllr Sarah-Jayne Holland, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said “Since the re-opening of The Higgins Bedford in its fantastic new home five years ago, our local museum and art gallery has put on interesting, fun and eye-opening exhibitions and events. It has become a must-see attraction right in the heart of our town centre.
I look forward to seeing what is still to come, and would like to say a huge thank you to the team at The Higgins Bedford, our various partner organisations both local and national, and of course to our wonderful volunteers.”