Harris Museum

A proof of concept visual of a Harris Museum library for children, open, clean and colourful

Direct Access assisted in the development of the Harris Museum’s accessibility measures.

Working with Preston Council and Lancashire County Council, Direct Access have supported plans to develop the first blended museum, art gallery, and library in the UK.

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery, and Preston Free Public Library is a Grade 1 listed museum in Preston. Founded by Edmund Harris in 1877, it still operates as a local history and fine art museum with over 350,000 visitors annually.

The Harris is at a turning point in its history, aiming to create the UK’s first blended museum, art gallery, and public library combined with an onsite café. Direct Access is involved with developing community-led approaches to programmes.

Since 2019, Direct Access has worked with Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council who jointly run the venue to develop and prepare for a major heritage lottery application for refurbishment and development by 2025.

Initially, an accessibility audit of the current site was undertaken that included a review of the first stage proposals. A bespoke grading system was used that identified quick wins of minimal cost that could be implemented along with a schedule of works to be included in Heritage Lottery bids.

Harris Museum Exterior

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