The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon will be closing its doors to the public next month as work on a £1.8m extension nears.

It will be open for the public for the final time on Monday, May 7, and will then close in preparation for work to begin on the new Long Bridge Wing.

Final layout plans for the extension will be considered by North Devon Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, May 8.

Work is expected to begin in June 2018, with contractors Herbert H Drew and Son completing the work. Parts of the museum will reopen in Autumn, and a full reopening is expected in Summer 2019.

North Devon Council’s executive member for parks, leisure and culture, Councillor Dick Jones, said: “After three years of planning and fund-raising, we are now reaching a very exciting phase of the museum extension project and building work is imminent.

“Although the museum will be closed for a while, it will be well worth the wait.

“The new extension will increase the floor space by 70 per cent, so we will be better equipped to give Barnstaple, and indeed North Devon, the museum it deserves. I can’t wait to see building work begin.”

Barnstaple’s Pop-Up Museum in Bridge Chambers will act as a front of house from Wednesday, May 9.

The Long Bridge Wing was given permission to start in July last year after receiving more than £850,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Money for the project also came via the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund, North Devon Council and the Arts Council.

The museum also raised more than £200,000 through grants and fundraising, including money from Fullabrook CIC, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Foyle Foundation and project patrons Brend Hotels and Philip J Milton and Company.

The Muesum of Barnstaple and North Devon is still accepting donations for the project.

Manager Alison Mills said: “Although work is about to begin on the new extension, it’s not too late to help.

“Your name can go down in history as a contributor to this important project – your donations can ‘buy a brick’, see your name on a floor tile in our entrance hall or appear on our wall of fame. There are also several packages available for corporate sponsors, with great benefits.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.mbndtrust.org.