A £1m contribution has been made by Nottinghamshire County Council to the new National Civil War Centre and museum to be built on Appletongate, Newark.
Mr Roger Jackson, Newark and Sherwood District Council’s cabinet member for leisure services, said: “The county council has always been interested in the museum project and has recognised the benefit it will bring to the whole county.”
A £3.2m Heritage Lottery grant has already been awarded towards the cost of the £5.4m project. Applications are being made to grant funding bodies to help meet the rest.
Tenders will be sought next month and are due to be awarded in June.
Building work should be completed by September, 2014, and it is anticipated that the museum will open on December 14, 2014.
The project will use the grade II listed Old Magnus buildings, including the Tudor Hall. They were used as a grammar school until 1922 when the site was sold to Newark Borough Council for a museum and education offices. They have been empty since 2005.
The single-storey museum building will be transformed into a National Civil War Centre (1642-1646) telling the story of how Newark residents coped as the Royalist town came under siege from the Parliamentarians.
Project manager Mrs Bryony Robins said: “We have a collection of our own but will also be loaning items from other museums. We hope the centre will become a springboard to other places where there is a focus on the Civil War.”
The Tudor Hall will be restored and left as an historic space that can be used for events such as concerts, theatre productions and weddings.
A mezzanine level will be installed where there will be a meeting room.
Two galleries have been allocated to tell the Newark story from prehistoric times to the present, which will mean a return of some of the items formerly in the Appletongate and Millgate museums.
One of the rooms will be used to display the Newark Torc, an Iron Age necklace found by Newark resident Mr Maurice Richardson with a metal detector. It is currently on loan to the British Museum.
Mrs Robins said there would be extra security to ensure the safety of the torc and other items.
A new glass-fronted building will be built to the left of the main building on a driveway between the museum and the Palace Theatre, which will be used as the entrance, with access to a lift for up to 14 people.
The top floor of the museum will be available for gallery space.
The Old Magnus Buildings will be open for public guided tours a week on Saturday ahead of its transformation.
Places must be booked on 01636 655733 or by emailing [email protected]