The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

Photograph of school party spilling down main staircase at NWMS

The National Waterfront Museum (NWMS) is in part the successor to the Wales Industrial and Maritime Museum, whose site is now the Oval Basin in the Cardiff Bay waterfront development. Locum Consulting was first commissioned in the 1990s to report on possible sites for a new museum.

Map of Swansea cultural quarter showing NWMS and other attractions.

We then worked over several years with the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and the City and Council of Swansea on the conceptual development and planning of the new museum, which incorporates the site and collections of the former Swansea Maritime Museum.

Locum Consulting was appointed Lead Consultant and provided the interface between the two client organisations and the specialist consultants required for the pre-construction phases. This involved:

  • project management and reporting
  • leading the initial conceptual development and themng, working closely with the client teams
  • planning the new museum in the context of the regeneration of the Swansea cultural quarter and city centre
  • development of organisational structure and governance
  • multiple iterations of visitor forecasting and business planning throughout the project
  • architectural brief
  • procurement of design team including architects Wilkinson Eyre and exhibition experts Land Design Studio
  • managing the design team and coordinating their outputs
  • management of the strategic capital budget, where a particular concern was to protect the museum content and fit-out budget from overruns in construction cost
  • funding applications including Heritage Lottery Fund, EU Objective One, Welsh Development Agency and Wales Tourist Board.
Photograph of mothers and children in a National Waterfront Museum gallery.

I was involved in all aspects of the project after the site selection and played a principal role in managing, developing and writing the Objective One, WDA and WTB funding bids.

The National Waterfront Museum opened on time and to budget in 2005 and achieved its visitor performance targets. In 2007 it was named the best design-led regeneration project in the United Kingdom.