The Harris appoints contractors for museum £16 million refit

Posted on - 9th February, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Redevelopment
Artist's impression of The Harris first floor rotunda
Artist’s impression of The Harris first floor rotunda

The refurbishment of The Harris has taken another step forward with the appointment of a fit-out team.


The Harris Your Place contractors are made up of BECK, Orbis, Four Agency Worldwide, Click Netherfield and Lancashire County Council’s conservation team. The team will redefine the Museum’s spaces using Ralph Applebaum Associates’ (RAA) designs to enhance the visitor experience. The project is due to complete in early 2025.

Preserving the Harris’ heritage while embracing innovation, and supported by £16 million funding, the Harris Your Place project will refurbish and reimagine the Grade I listed building.

Beyond restoration, the project will also enhance accessibility, improve services, and respond to the diverse needs of the community.

With an emphasis on engaging the local community and visitors alike, the goal is to create a cultural hub, aiming to attract an additional 100,000 visitors.


Read more: The Harris acquires Preston designer Ross Griffith’s iconic Rose Dress

BECK is leading the implementation of RAA’s innovative design, the manufacture, installation and commissioning of the bespoke interior finishes, audio visual, interactives, exhibition power, lighting and the graphics within the Harris.  

Its work will also include the exhibition infrastructure, bespoke library shelving and new café and retail displays which complement the interior design of the spaces.

The Harris community celebrating 130 Years
The Harris community recently celebrated 130 Years

Dal Chana, Group Director at BECK, said: “We are delighted to be working with Preston City Council and the professional teams on protecting this beloved building at the heart of the community, whilst creating a modern, cultural learning space for today’s audience.”

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council, added: “We’re thrilled to have such a distinguished team onboard for the Harris Your Place project. Each contractor and subcontractor bring a unique set of skills that will elevate The Harris into a cutting-edge cultural and learning space. The combined expertise of these companies is a testament to our commitment to ensuring The Harris becomes a thriving cultural hub.”

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Across the building, visitor engagement will be promoted by a blend of high-tech and low-tech platforms, including a digital offer, but also being a space to ‘log off’ and enjoy authentic, hands-on experiences wherever possible. The integration of cutting-edge technology and diverse interactive elements will ensure an enriching experience, setting the stage for a revitalised Harris, a space that fosters curiosity, learning, and cultural appreciation for generations to come.

The Harris is currently operating from other local spaces around Preston, with plans for pop-up exhibitions and events. More information can be found about the Harris Your Place project on the Harris website.

Read more: New-look The Harris to be host to No. 9 and The Studio for city’s youth

About the contractors

Orbis – Mount Making Services: Orbis specialises in templating objects and crafting unique mounts designed by exhibition designers, Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

Lancashire County Council – Conservation Services: Experts in preserving and conserving objects with a blend of artistry and scientific methodologies, the team ensures each object retains its historical integrity and cultural significance for future generations.

Four Agency Worldwide – AV Software Design and Installation: Specialises in the design, delivery, installation, and testing of audio/video (AV) software for the new interactive elements at The Harris.

Click Netherfield – Showcase Contractor: Design engineering, in-house fabrication, and on-site installation of bespoke, conservation grade showcases to display and protect the collections of the new Harris.

The collaboration includes several subcontractors:

Unusual Projects: Spearheading interactive elements to engage visitors.


Fortecho Solutions: Securing the Harris’ collections through a suite of wireless protection systems.

Fusion Lx: Tasked with AV hardware and integrating cutting-edge technology to enrich the visitor journey.

SI Electrical: Specialists in areas such as lighting and control, case, exhibit, AV and interactive integration.

Caterware: Handling the catering equipment to ensure seamless and efficient service within the premises.

Displayways: Responsible for graphics and visual storytelling elements, enhancing the immersive experience at The Harris.

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