FORDINGBRIDGE Museum has announced it will be remaining closed until April 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The museum in King’s Yard is usually open from Easter until October.

Fordingbridge Museum chairman Chris Ansell, said: “The management team have consulted with our volunteers and looked carefully at government regulations and reluctantly decided that it is not feasible to open this year.

“We are very disappointed that we will not be open to welcome visitors this summer. The museum is proud of being one of the major attractions in Fordingbridge with thousands of visitors and locals coming to explore the heritage of the area each year. This August marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of Fordingbridge museum so we are determined to open with a major relaunch in April next year.”

The attraction relies on donations but it says it has “some limited financial reserves to see us through this difficult time”.

Museum manager Jane Ireland said: “Although the museum will be shut to the public our energetic team of volunteers will still be working away behind the closed doors. They are determined that something positive should come out of the crisis.

“We will be rearranging and expanding many of the displays and also producing exciting new ones. Not having visitors is also an opportunity to give the outside of the building a much needed coat of paint. Visitors can look forward to a completely new and enriched experience once we reopen.

“Financially we rely entirely on donations from the public and fundraising by the Friends of the Museum and we have no paid employees. Luckily, as a responsible organisation that forward plans, we have some limited financial reserves to see us through this difficult time. To restore depleted funds the Friends of the Museum will be pulling out all the stops to continue fundraising whilst complying with the current restrictions.

“We are urgently looking for new volunteers who could be allocated a range of simple tasks to help us achieve our ambitious aims. Anyone coming forward could choose from a range of activities to match their interests and give as much time as they felt they could spare. There are also specific opportunities in our Collection Care Team who are responsible for all the artefacts in the museum.”

To volunteer or fundraise call 01425 657850 or 654322