30 January 2016
Known locally as Bangor Museum, or Oriel Bangor, Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery was housed in the former Canonry since 1973 and has been run by the county council since 1991. The old Canonry is a Grade II listed building located in Tan-y-Fynwent and was built in 1862 as part of the Cathedral precinct.
The future of the museum has in the past been uncertain – in 2009 it came close to closure but was saved following a public campaign. A £1.4 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant was, however, secured in 2013 as part of the £2.4 million project Engaging Collections: Widening Access to Gwynedd’s Heritage. This is a joint initiative between Gwynedd Council and Bangor University and its aims included moving the museum from the old Canonry to the nearby former Bishop’s Palace and also improving access to the University’s collections.
The Grade II listed Bishop’s Palace, located in Ffordd Gwynedd, is the city’s second oldest surviving building with part of it dating back to around 1500. This was incorporated into the present building, constructed in the late 16th / early 17th centuries and extended in the 18th century. The building was sold in 1900 and became the Town Hall and was renovated in 1960.
With building work starting in March 2014, the premises have now been converted to house the museum and art galleries together with a shop and café. Although it was originally scheduled to open in autumn 2015, the actual opening did not take place until 30 January 2016. As part of the move, the museum has been re-branded as Storiel, a portmanteau word formed from the Welsh words stori (story) and oriel (gallery).