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Milton Keynes Museum

Project value: £5 million

Sector: Leisure and Recreation

Client satisfaction: 9/10

Local spend within 20 miles: 75%

Local labour within 20 miles: 53%

Students engaged with via workshops: 270

Weeks of apprenticeships delivered: 192

The new galleries will be something of which Milton Keynes can be truly proud – a permanent record and tribute to all who have and will come here."

Bill Griffiths

Museum Director | Milton Keynes Museum

As Milton Keynes celebrates its 50th birthday, Milton Keynes Museum has been expanded to ensure the city's past and present is preserved for future generations to enjoy.


The aim of this project was to restore the museum to its former glory, whilst adding to its legacy with a fantastic new extension that has already seen visitor numbers increase by 20%, anticipated to reach 50% once final internal fit out works are fully complete.

Originally founded in 1973 by a group of local people, Milton Keynes Museum went from strength to strength. That is, until it burnt down in 1996 destroying the museum’s grade II Listed threshing barn, cowshed, and two smaller buildings. Agricultural equipment, stationary engines, cameras, radios and other irreplaceable items were severely damaged or destroyed.

Two new galleries were created for the MK Museum that tell the story of the town, ranging from pre-historic times right up to the present day. An ancient Milton Keynes gallery covers everything from Stone Age and Roman times through to the area’s role during the Wars of the Roses and Civil War. Crucially, it also showcases noteworthy archaeological discoveries that were returned to Milton Keynes for the local community and tourists to enjoy.

Alongside the first gallery sits a second large gallery telling the story of how a corner of North Buckinghamshire became the UK’s most ambitious new city, and of the people, organisations and events that have been a part of Milton Keynes’ first 50 years. It will also host special exhibits featuring some of Milton Keynes’ biggest success stories such as Marshall Amps, Red Bull Racing and The Open University.

Museum Director Bill Griffiths said: "Our aims are as ambitious as ever: to create a fantastic museum of which the people of Milton Keynes can be proud, which draws in people from all over the UK and allows us to bring home the unique archaeology of this area."

The history of the MK Museum project made its eventual completion even more meaningful to the client and local people of Milton Keynes.

The expansion and restoration had been planned for some time, suffering numerous setbacks due to funding issues, which meant that when funding was secured, the project needed launching with urgency.

Using the SCAPE Major Works framework, enabled Milton Keynes Council to commence works on site within a short space of time from securing funding, which ensured reliability of project completion in tighter timescales that was not achievable using alternative procurement routes.

Throughout the project, there had been 227 site visits by school and university students and 192 weeks’ worth of apprenticeships. A partnership with Milton Keynes College gave the latter’s construction students opportunities to develop their skills in bricklaying and carpentry.

4th December 2017 saw the official Handover of the MK Museum, and has subsequently been signed off as Defect Free by the Quality Delivery Team, with 9/10 client satisfaction.

Museum Director Bill Griffiths said: "We are grateful to Milton Keynes Council for its continuing support and to local people who are visiting in ever greater numbers. This is their museum and we're committed to retaining what they love about what is already here."

Peter Owen, managing director at Willmott Dixon said: "This exciting project for Milton Keynes provides two galleries that act as a real showcase for the city’s heritage, telling its story to the local community and those visiting from further afield. This has a real lasting legacy in the city and we are very proud to be a part of it."


Increase in visitor numbers


Client satisfaction


Local spend within 20 miles

In collaboration with:

SCAPE Construction Primary Logo
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