One of Bradford’s most unique visitor attractions has revealed that it will be re-opening in one of the district’s iconic mills next year.
The one-of-a-kind Peace Museum, previously based in Piece Hall Yard in Bradford city centre, will be making the move to Salts Mill in a move that will allow it to show more of its extensive collection.
And the boss of the Grade II listed mill says the museum will bring ‘something new and very special’ to the site.
Announced this morning, the move is being made possible thanks to a National Lottery Grant of £245,000.
The new space will be in a currently disused part of the Saltaire mill, and will open in Summer 2024 – a few months before Bradford begins its 2025 City of Culture year.
The Peace Museum is the only UK museum dedicated to peace, and holds a variety of artefacts linked to the Peace movement, from protest banners to letters and posters.
As well as being a museum, it also works with dozens of schools on projects looking at issues such as conscientious objectors and animals used during wars.
But the museum was also one of the least accessible in Yorkshire – located on one of the upper floors of a building that also included a Solicitor’s office.
It was difficult to find due to its location – and many residents would struggle to point visitors to where the museum was.
The Peace Museum team hope that the moved from the cramped, upper floor space to Salts Mill’s huge open spaces will make it much more accessible – as well as increasing the exhibits that can be put on display.
The centrepiece of the World Heritage Site of Saltaire, Salts Mill has become a major tourist attraction since it re-opened as an arts centre in the 1980s.
As well as being a gallery for numerous pieces of David Hockney’s artwork, it has a book shop, exhibition space, numerous other stores and cafes and restaurants.
The Peace Museum’s move will ‘focus on creating engaging and accessible exhibitions, and developing a dedicated learning space in its new home’.
A statement from the museum said: “Opening in these new premises will create many more opportunities for visitors, researchers, and community groups to explore the diverse range of stories told by the museum’s collection.”
Commenting on the Lottery funding, Clive Barrett, Chair of Trustees at The Peace Museum, said: “This project will be transformational for The Peace Museum.
“We’re delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players, and so excited to have the opportunity to make the history of peace accessible to everybody.
“This is particularly exciting in light of Bradford receiving City of Culture for 2025, as we’ll be able to welcome visitors from all over the world to our brand-new museum in the heart of the district.”
Helen Featherstone, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “By opening their amazing collections in a new home that is renowned for its heritage, local people and visitors from further afield can learn more about the fascinating social history that the museum explores.
“We know that heritage can play a huge role in bringing people together and creating a sense of pride in local communities, and in turn boosting the local economy, and this work by The Peace Museum is sure to be a perfect example of that.”
Zoe Silver, of Salts Mill, said: “This beautiful, historic building is full of culture and commerce with art, books, food, independent retail and many businesses from world-leading technological innovators to craftspeople creating handmade objects.
“The unique collections of The Peace Museum will bring something new and very special to this extraordinary place.”
Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director of Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture, said:
“It’s a joy to see Bradford’s cultural sector preparing for our landmark year as UK City of Culture. Bradford is a city of peace and we’re so excited that The Peace Museum is opening again, increasing access to their incredible collection.
“This is a huge opportunity to celebrate and share our district’s diverse history of social reform – with our communities and with visitors from around the world, in the year 2025 and beyond.”