Published on 13th November 2013

The Wilson option

Cheltenham is proving to be a town of art and culture lovers, with over 500 people a day paying a visit to the newly-opened art gallery and museum.

The Wilson opened its doors just over a month ago, achieving 1,600 visitors on its first day.

Jane Lillystone, Museum, Arts and Tourism Manager says, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people that have come, and are still coming, through the doors. People seem to be re-engaging with the museum collections again and we have even had requests to check that ‘old favourites’ will be on display before they arrive!”

Cabinet member for sport and culture, Rowena Hay, says, “The feedback we’ve had so far suggests that visitors absolutely love the new galleries and particularly the Colin Reid exhibition that’s been displayed since the opening.

“But what’s really great is that there’s been a huge increase in the amount of schools visiting The Wilson, using the Foyle Learning Centre. The education service used to go out to schools, now they’re asking to visit the art gallery and museum, which is fantastic. In the old building, it would have been a tight squeeze to get school visits in alongside other visitors, but the new building can cope really well and it’s wonderful to see young children being inspired by the collections.”

Speaking about what’s in store for month two, Jane said, “This week, we will be opening our Friends Gallery which will show paintings from The Wilson’s fine art collection, including the founding collection of seventeenth century Dutch paintings and recent acquisitions.

“In December, we’ll be opening the paper store which will show treasures from our archive collections – some of which will be shown to the public for the very first time including books, letters, and theatre play bills.”

For the latest on what’s happening at The Wilson, visit


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