MORE DETAILS ON THE HIGGINS BEDFORD’S DAWN TO
DUSK LAUNCH HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED
Culture vultures across the country have a
date firmly fixed in their diaries, and this date is fast
approaching! The Higgins Bedford’s launch will take place on
Friday 21st June - and more details
have now been confirmed of the ‘dawn to dusk’ opening on the
longest day of the year.
As the £5.8m project is set to be reopened,
interest in the launch has accelerated. Details announced, so far,
Special pre-booked highlight tours introducing
collections from the art gallery and museum will start from
sunrise at 4.40am, and then take place at 30 minutes past
the hour until 9.30am. Free refreshments will be offered to those
booked on a tour. The tours are free but places are limited.
The tours will take in highlights from across
the building which has brought together previously separate venues
and redeveloped them over the past 2 years. New displays breathe
life back into The Higgins Bedford, which holds world-class
collections including works by Turner, Picasso and Warhol.
Further entertainment is planned throughout
the day, with the official opening taking place at 11am in the
courtyard at the entrance to the building.
Mayor Dave Hodgson will then be opening Sense
of Place, an exhibition of work by ten local community groups.
There will also be an official opening for Fatal Attractions, an
exhibition curated by students from Beauchamp Middle School.
Exhibitors will join staff and volunteers from
The Higgins Bedford during the afternoon to talk to visitors about
the new displays and exhibitions.
As dusk approaches, from 6pm onwards, the
party atmosphere will continue. Fairy lights will illuminate the
courtyard as local acoustic bands play into the night. A bar and
restaurant will be available throughout the evening.
Visitors on the day are also being asked to do
their part to celebrate the opening. The Higgins Bedford is
encouraging visitors to share pictures of the day on Instagram,
twitter and facebook to record the atmosphere and events from every
Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for
Leisure and Culture at Bedford Borough Council, said: “Intense
national interest has been shown in the launch of The Higgins
Bedford. It is hugely exciting for us as a borough, to be hosting
such an attraction. People will come from overseas to visit The
Higgins Bedford, so we are expecting local Bedfordians to gather en
masse to mark this occasion. We will be there from the crack of
dawn to welcome people who want the first glance of this exciting
new cultural venue. With all the activity in addition to the
collection itself we’re expecting a lot of interest in this opening
Mayor, Dave Hodgson, said: “The Higgins
Bedford belongs to us all, and that’s the message that we want to
send out right from day one. That’s why we’re marking its opening
by throwing open the doors for 17 hours on the longest day of the
year, to give everyone the chance to enjoy the launch of this major
cultural attraction in the heart of Bedford. Entry is free,
as are the pre-booked tours, and I look forward to seeing who will
be joining me on the first tour at 4.40am!”
The excitement is set to continue throughout
the year with a programme of exciting exhibitions also planned. The
first exhibition, in the Wixamtree gallery, will be Victorian
Visions: Pre-Raphaelite Watercolours and Drawings from The Higgins
Bedford’s renowned collection of works on paper. The works on paper
are not on permanent display, but shown in rotation as part of the
temporary exhibition programme.
The house was built in 1846 by Cecil Higgins’
Grandfather, local brewer, Charles Higgins and remained within the
family for several decades. Cecil Higgins became sole heir of the
Higgins estate and used his inheritance to build a collection of
decorative arts which, in his own words, he could leave ‘for
the benefit, interest and education of the inhabitants of, and
visitors to Bedford’. He left the house to the Borough of
Bedford, to display his collection.
For more details on the launch, contact Gemma,
at Bedford Borough Council, via email@example.com
To book your place on a guided tour contact
The Corn Exchange on 01234 325358 or visit