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Plans to reopen the DLI approved

Published February 24, 2023 2.30pm

Plans to reopen the DLI Museum and Art Gallery have moved a step closer, as proposals for the venue have been approved.

Planning permission has been given for the reopening of the DLI Museum and Art Gallery.

Based at Aykley Heads, the reopening of the DLI Museum and Art Gallery will see the popular venue brought back into use as a community asset and visitor destination. It is hoped that the site will draw in visitors from across the wider North East and nationally.

Entry to the DLI exhibition will be free of charge, in line with the our belief that the Durham Light Infantry belongs to us all.

Expected to attract between 60,000 and 150,000 visitors a year, the venue will be refurbished and expanded to include a dedicated space to display key objects from the DLI Collection as well as an exhibition centre, gallery, and a café.

Work will also be carried out to preserve and enhance the grounds of the building to create a reflective garden area.

Our investment in the site is part of our commitment to ensuring key facilities, like the DLI Museum and Art Gallery and The Story, are here for future generations.

A key cultural and community asset

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "We are delighted that plans to reopen the DLI Museum and Art Gallery have been approved.

"We believe the DLI is for everyone: our communities, children and visitors, and everyone who wants to experience County Durham's proud culture. With that in mind, we have invested in a facility that is free at the point of use for all.

"Last year we saw County Durham shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2025, with a vision to build a great future on our proud past.

"Ensuring that key facilities like the DLI and the Story are here for future generations is therefore imperative.

"We look forward to the Museum and Gallery quickly becoming a key cultural and community asset for Durham and the wider region and nationally."

Showcasing the DLI Collection

Cllr Scott added: "Key objects from the DLI Collection will be on display at the venue, maintaining links to the building's heritage and, more specifically, showcasing the role the DLI played in world history.

"The venue will also have strong links to The Story which, when complete, will be a permanent home for the DLI Collection."

Work is progressing on The Story, an exciting new heritage venue at Mount Oswald which will bring together five historic collections for the first time, providing a unique gateway to explore the whole history of County Durham and its people. The attraction will include almost six miles of archives charting 900 years of local history, a new home for the Durham register office and an elegant wedding ceremony venue.

The Story will provide the permanent home for the whole DLI Collection, reuniting it with the DLI Archive for the first time since 1998. The collection and archive will be housed, stored, cared for, and curated at the site.

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