The new Danum Gallery, Library and Museum has officially opened and brings hope for Doncaster’s future

The iconic new building is going to have a lasting impact on Doncaster’s residents for many years to come.

By Laura Andrew
Sunday, 26th September 2021, 2:09 pm

The Danum Gallery, Library and Museum has been open to the public for a couple of months now but it had its official opening ceremony on Friday, September 24.

To mark the occasion a new plaque was unveiled at the entrance of the building, speeches were made about the importance of the new facility and a time capsule was buried.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “This big community celebration is a fitting way to officially open Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.

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The new gallery.

“We have delivered a truly world class building packed to the brim with interesting things to explore and modern ways to learn.

“It’s another tremendous visitor attraction for Doncaster as we continue to transform our town centre.

“Doncaster is on the up and we’re going to build everything to a city standard because our people deserve it.

“What an iconic building this is.

Coun Glyn Butcher in front of the locomotives.

“Importantly, though, it’s an asset for our residents.

“The building is for them to enjoy and for them to benefit from.

“This is a memorable occasion for Doncaster and an achievement I am incredibly proud of.”

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The unveiling of a new plaque.

Major Jones had the honour of burying a time capsule during the event.

A metal cylinder was lowered into its new home inside the Rail Heritage Centre.

It included a Doncaster Rovers football shirt, a copy of The Doncaster Free Press, a video message from Ros and many items from the present day.

It will not be opened until 2121 by the future Mayor of Doncaster.

The gallery currently has a Picasso on show.

The HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew Coombe CVO attended the event and unveiled a new plaque at the entrance of the building.

He said: “I am delighted and honoured to be asked to formally open the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum.

“This has been a truly innovative and inspirational project making the best possible use of the Doncaster High School for Girls building, cleverly retaining much of its character in the amazing refurbishment.

“The project enables an eclectic collection of projects to be brought together under one roof.

“What they have in common, together with the re-sited KOYLI Museum, is the remarkable opportunity to educate many and remind others, in a very visual and tangible way, of the significant contributions the people of this town and borough have played in the history and development of our country.

“I hope that seeing the relics of an earlier age and the displays in the gallery will inspire people, the young in particular, to be creative and contribute, as their forebears did, to the future.”

Art in the gallery.

Several people involved with the building of the new facility made speeches to commemorate the official opening.

Coun Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Planning, said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to have been a part of this project and to see the amazing results.

“Libraries empower people, libraries enable people, libraries give us power.

“Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is a real treasure.

“It’s designed to raise aspirations, inspire people to learn and showcase our rich and varied heritage.

“It provides a mix of experiences that are fascinating and enjoyable for Doncaster residents and visitors of all ages.

“Doncaster has a community building we can all be proud of, one that will be here for future generations to come.”Coun Glyn Jones, said: “What a wonderful building this is.“It’s something everyone can enjoy from the young to old.“We need facilities like this in Doncaster to build up imagination and to inspire the future generations.”

Dan Fell, Chief Executive Officer at Doncaster Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a fantastic new asset for Doncaster right in the heart of our town centre.“It really celebrates culture, heritage and arts in a really exciting way.“It adds a vibrancy to our town and creates a new narrative for the borough.“It really helps to energise our town centre.“We know town centres are challenged in the current climate but this will generate footfall which is good for shops, restaurants and the whole town centre eco system.“It’s a fab development and great news for Doncaster.”

Damian Allen, Chief Executive Officer at Doncaster Council, said: “I think this is one of the first buildings to be opened during Covid-19 of this nature.

“We have put a huge amount of investment into it .

“Not just resources but we have sourced from the whole of the community what it should contain and how it should be organised - so it has been very co-produced.

“It’s an icon.

“It’s about revealing the past , presenting the present and also creating the future.

“It breaks some of the traditional expectations you have about museums - it is a very vibrant place.

“It is also about inspiring hope after 18 months of challenge.

“This is a building for all of Doncaster.

“From the cradle to the grave.

“We have a children’s library and a plethora of interactive engaging exhibits which are refreshed regularly.”

The new facility is currently home to a touring exhibition from the British Museum which includes works from Picasso and Celmins.

The temperature controlled gallery means that Doncater will now be able to share world class pieces of art that before it’s build could not have been housed in the town.

The facility is packed full of Doncaster history from prehistoric times to the modern day.

With a huge emphasis on the rail heritage.

Two humongous locomotive trains currently sit inside the building - the Green Arrow and No.251 on loan from the National Railway Museum.

You can find out more information about the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum on their website here.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.

The time capsule has a signed Doncaster Rovers shirt in it.
Mayor Ros Jones said she was very proud of the new building.