Future Plans for Johnson's Birthplace

Behind the scenes at the Birthplace we have been working on plans for the future of the Museum. Our Development Project will see improved access to our Grade I listed building, as well as new exhibitions and visitor facilities.

Our goals for our project are to care for the long-term future of the Museum by increasing our sustainability, welcoming more of our community to the Birthplace and increasing our appeal to local visitors, improve access to and care of our collections, and care for the long-term future of the Museum.

Here are some of the ways that we are planning to do this:

  • Create wheelchair access to the ground floor, virtual access to upper floors and an accessible toilet.
  • Replace Museum displays to enable better care of our collections and allow more of our collection to be seen, including local history and diverse stories (e.g. women’s history, Johnson’s health, and his Jamaican heir Francis Barber)
  • Develop the Kitchen and Bookbinding workshop displays into interactive spaces
  • Create an education programme for secondary age students, review our existing primary visit, and improve our library study area.
  • Improve our event, education and hire space to ensure that we will be more resilient.
  • Develop our programme of events in consultation with local audiences.
  • Train staff and volunteers on welcoming disabled and neurodivergent audiences.
  • Diversify our team and involve our community by creating new, flexible volunteering opportunities.
  • Improve our external appearance contributing positively to the local street scene.

 

Work in 2021-2022

The first part of the project will start in winter 2021 when we will be redisplaying the Johnson family workshop. Leicestershire-based exhibition designers Vertigo Creative will transport visitors back to the 18th century with a recreation of a bookbinding business including hands-on and sensory elements. Some essential re-wiring work will also be undertaken throughout the house.  Subject to planning permission, we also hope to build a visitor toilet facility in our courtyard.

 


Future Phases

Subject to planning permission and funding, we hope to establish wheelchair access to the ground floor of the Museum by 2023. Working with award-winning architects Brownhill Hayward Brown, wheelchair access to the ground floor would be achieved by replacing the existing modern steps at the Market Street side of the house with new steps incorporating a disappearing platform lift. Planning applications are under consideration and the details can be viewed on the Lichfield District Council website here and here

The rest of the ground floor will be re-displayed alongside this work, with the introductory film presentation relocated to the Parlour, and our library and research spaces will be refurbished.

It is hoped that the rest of the Museum displays will be able to follow beyond 2023.

Get involved!

 

Johnson’s Birthplace was a gift to the people of Lichfield and bringing more of our community into our building is at the heart of our plans. We have been guided by hundreds of visitor comments, surveys and reviews and are always keen to hear from anyone who would like to share an opinion on our plans.

You can join our community voices email group for updates on our project and invitations to provide feedback on our plans. Please email us at sjmuseum@lichfield.gov.uk to be included.