95 High Street, Rochester
Huguenot Heritage Centre – Background
Since the purchase of 95 High Street Rochester, within which is situated Rochester’s Visitor Information Centre (VIC), the French Hospital has been working to improve its existing charitable housing as well as planning to develop new accommodation.
The council’s Visitor Information Centre will remain on the ground floor of 95 High Street and it is intended that the upper floors, at the rear of the building, will be converted into four new two-bedroom flats.
A major, and really exciting, part of the whole project is the development of the upper floors, at the front and centre of the building, as the Huguenot Heritage Centre (HHC).
Huguenot Heritage Centre Update
Designer's impression of The Refugees
The Huguenot Heritage Centre will tell the story of the flight of Huguenots to Britain; it will explain their key contributions to the formation of modern Britain; and it will explore contemporary issues that resonate with the Huguenot experience. The HHC will open in summer 2015.
The displays on the first floor will be divided into three themes:
- The Persecution – The dramatic story of persecution, intolerance, secrecy and flight told through noise and audio drama and the artefacts held by the French Hospital.
- The Refugees - Discover the Huguenots' impressive ability for self-help and support, including through churches, societies, schools, charities and the French Hospital. Objects from the French Hospital, individuals and institutions will illustrate the skills that the Huguenots brought to England, including crafts, military leadership, education and science.
- British Huguenots Today. Find your own Huguenot descendants and discover what it means to claim Huguenot heritage today. There will also be a small display area for changing exhibitions that are developed with community groups and individuals.
Designer's impression of The Persecution displays
In the basement there will be museum-quality Archive where the French Hospital’s archives will be kept along with material donated by Huguenot families. On the first floor the Huguenot Archive and Research Centre will offer a space for researchers to interrogate these archives.
On the second floor there will be a multi-function space with retractable seating for 60 people. This seating means that the room will be very versatile. It will be used as an auditorium for lectures and film shows; and a classroom with tables and chairs for school and adult education groups. Importantly, too, the multi-function room will host high profile temporary exhibitions from the V & A and Courtauld Institute. As it will be useable as an auditorium or an open space, it will be available to hire for business meetings, training sessions, lectures and more. The current suite of function rooms will cease to be available for hire once building works commence – estimated to be in the late summer 2014, but more details will follow…
The grant also includes funds for two members of staff who will be museum professionals with experience in archives, collections management and teaching in museums. The staff will need to be supported by about 40 volunteers, who will work in a variety of areas including greeting visitors, looking after the archives, helping visitors research their Huguenot roots and working with families and children.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Huguenot Heritage Centre please contact Claire Adler, Internal Project Manager:
Download the attached document to read, in a little more detail, about the rationale for the creation of the Huguenot Heritage Centre, about the outcomes that we hope for and about the Campaign that has been launched to raise funds for this exciting project
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If you would like to give to the Campaign, please see directions on how to do so, below.
In order that your donation is properly recorded and so that you have the opportunity to specify any conditions of your donation, we need you to complete the Donor Form and a Standing Order Form if appropriate. Completion of a 3rd form (Gift Aid Declaration) will allow all qualifying gifts of money to be treated as Gift Aid.