In March 2018 the Museum received the devastating news that High House Chapel would close and the Museum would need to seek new premises. After a year of stress and uncertainty " The Trustees of the Weardale Museum agreed in principle to explore the possibility of purchasing High House Chapel from The Methodist Church”.
This is a huge decision for the Museum but it provides the opportunity to expand physically and to recruit many new followers who are keen to help to preserve the Historic Chapel.
The decision to close the Chapel for worship was taken very reluctantly by the Fellowship who do not have the capacity or the resources to carry out necessary repairs and renovations to their building. Appeals during the last twelve months to Methodist Headquarters to come up with a scheme to save the oldest Methodist Chapel in continuous use were unsuccessful.
The project involves the purchase of the Chapel property, repair and renovation and adaptions to make the building more accessible and suitable as a venue for events and displays at a cost of about £600,000.
The Museum will continue in its present building but will make more use of the chapel and its bigger spaces to tell an expanded heritage story, while offering the present fellowship the invitation to worship there again once the work is completed.