New name for Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery

Esther Roberts, Project manager; Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member; Professor Jerry Hunter from Bangor University and Sioned Williams, Head of Gwynedd Council’s Economy and Community Department.

As the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery enters an exciting new phase in its development and with work progressing well on renovating its new home, it seems timely to have a new name.


Over the years, the museum and gallery has been known as Museum of Welsh Antiquities, Bangor Museum and Art Gallery and more recently as the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor.  Most people name the building as either Bangor Museum or Oriel Bangor, depending on what they have come to see.


After discussing with staff, Friends Groups and peer organisations, ‘Storiel’ will be the name for the new building.


A name which combines the two main purposes of the museum and gallery; the stories of each of the artefacts cared for and exhibit and the many stories these tell, as well as being a gallery or ‘oriel’ showing contemporary and historical art.  The name is a combination of these two main functions; ‘stori’ and ‘oriel’, but the Museum and Gallery will remain a key part of the branding.


Councillor Mandy Williams-Davies, Gwynedd Economy Cabinet Member who leads on heritage and the arts for the Council said: “This is an exciting time for this project, with work on the new building progressing well. That’s why we were eager to have a name that is instantly recognisable that works in Bangor and throughout the county without being confined to a particular place, as well as a name that is rooted in its purpose, our Welsh language and that is inspiring, playful and flexible, that can draw attention simply, to the different types of work we do.”


Frances Llewellyn, Honorary Secretary of the Friends added: “The Friends of Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery will be very pleased to call themselves ‘The Friends of Storiel’. It is a clever combination of words which packs a lot of meaning and reference into one short, easy to pronounce word.  We think it will quickly become memorable.”


The graphic element of the name is still being developed but it is anticipated that the name will be used to reflect exhibitions and activities developed across the county as part of its new network of spokes and community based activities, in addition to the key functions of the museum, gallery, shop and café in Bangor.

Professor Jerry Hunter on behalf of the University noted: “Storiel is an excellent name which suggests creativity, excitement, originality and endless possibilities; a perfect name for a new phase for the museum and gallery’s future.  Indeed, with a number of developments going ahead in Bangor, including the Pontio development, it is part of an exciting phase in the cultural history of north west Wales.”

In addition to funding from Gwynedd Council and Bangor University, the museum and gallery redevelopment project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government, Bangor City Council, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation and the Ashley Foundation.

The project focuses on four main things; to move to the old Bishop’s Palace Bangor, to reinterpret the museum exhibitions, to improve care and access to Bangor University’s collections as well as working with community and learning groups across the county. This is a £2.4 million project with £1.4 million coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales said: “This is an excellent project which offers a range of opportunities for people to learn about and get involved with the Museum and Gallery.  HLF is dedicated to supporting projects that open up our heritage for locals and visitors to learn about and enjoy.”


Building work is in full swing on the site of the old Town Hall in Bangor and a lot of planning and working with community groups is going on already. It is expected that doors will open to the public during autumn 2015.


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