The reopening of Abingdon’s historic museum is set to trigger a revival in the town, traders believe.
The £3m restoration and refurbishment on the 17th century County Hall Museum began in October 2010.
And it is to reopen to visitors on Saturday after it was surrounded by scaffolding and hoarding for much of the work.
Paul Townsend, Abingdon Chamber of Commerce president, said: “We have always said the museum reopening is the start of the regeneration of Abingdon.”
Phil May, owner of Market Place cafe Throwing Buns, is to open another branch in the museum basement on Saturday. He said the restored attraction would help the town’s traders.
Mr May said: “The museum will be an attraction for residents in the town but maybe more importantly for people outside of the town to come to Abingdon.
“If they are in Abingdon I would hope and would have thought they would spend some money.”
Julie Mayhew-Archer, chairman of Abingdon Town Council’s museum committee, said visits to the museum were expected to increase by 50 per cent.
She said: “It’s a nationally important building in my view and it’s lovely to have it used.”
Heather Brown, manager of the Choose Abingdon Partnership, said: “The County Hall Museum is now set to become a real asset to the town, adding to our visitor offer and keeping those who visit the
town occupied for longer.
“We know that if visitor ‘dwell time’ increases then the average spend also increases.”
Meanwhile, a £4 million revamp of the Abbey Shopping Centre is expected to finish in November and will be followed by a major £50m redevelopment of the Charter area.
The opening of the museum at about 12pm will star Horrible Histories actress Martha Howe-Douglas.