A popular West Cumbrian attraction is set to reopen for the first time in 16 months.
The Rum Story – The Dark Spirit of Whitehaven, will welcome guests through its doors from June 24 onwards, following its enforced closure due to COVID-19.
The immersive attraction charts the history of rum in Whitehaven through the story of the famous Jefferson family, taking an unfiltered look at the trade and everything associated with it.
With a new manager in place, and the finishing touches being put to a number of new features, demand is expected to be high when the doors open once more.
Louise McKenna, manager of The Rum Story, said: “We missed the opportunity to celebrate our 20th year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve taken the opportunity during that time to review all elements of the exhibition and ensure they are still as relevant and engaging as they were when the doors opened for the first time at the turn of the millennium.
“We’ve got some very exciting developments that we hope to be able to announce in the coming weeks ahead of the official reopening.
“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming visitors through the doors and with so many people planning staycations, we expect we will be busy.”
Copeland MP Trudy Harrison will officially reopen the attraction as a special event on June 24, government guidelines permitting.
She said: “So many art venues and attractions have been through the most challenging of periods over the last 15 months, so I am delighted that we are now seeing more and more venues reopen, as the government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues.
“The Rum Story is an excellent asset to Whitehaven.
“It gives a fascinating and unfettered insight into the UK rum trade, charting the meteoric rise of the port and Jefferson empire, but highlighting the human sacrifice and horrors of slavery which were tragic by-products.
”It is an excellent exhibition, and I would urge residents of Cumbria to make the journey to this unique and very interesting attraction.”
Refreshments will be available for visitors in the courtyard, where they can also enjoy the spectacle of the attraction’s kinetic clock.
The Rum Story is operated by the Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, the organisation responsible for the management of Whitehaven Harbour.
Chief executive John Baker said: “The rum trade is so closely linked to the history of Whitehaven and its harbour, which at a point in time was one of the busiest in the UK.
“This is brought to life superbly by The Rum Story which gives visitors such a fascinating insight into the Jefferson family empire.
“Of course the exhibition tackles some difficult subjects, but we believe it is our responsibility to provide an educational and thought-provoking experience for our visitors.
“We’ll be delighted to open our doors once more after and very much look forward to welcoming guests of all ages, from Cumbria, the North West and beyond.”