WORK has started on the month-long refurbishment of Port Sunlight Museum.

It is the second phase of a five-year development plan for the historic village.

When it reopens next month the venue in King George's Drive will feature a special exhibition on Lady Lever, the wife of Village Founder William Hesketh Lever.

This year marks the centenary of Lady Lever's death and the exhibition plans to celebrate her life and contribution to the village.

The project will also see refurbishment of the museum's gift shop, new visitor signage, the creation of a special exhibitions gallery, and improvements to the permanent exhibitions.

Funding has come from Port Sunlight Village Trust and the Biffa Award, which awards grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.

The total cost of the work is £64,635, with Biffa Award contributing £47,448.98.

Museum manager Katherine Lynch said: "We are thrilled to have the support of Biffa Award to assist the Trust in their development of the Museum.

"Port Sunlight Museum gives visitors a chance to discover the history of the village, its creator 'Soap King' William Hesketh Lever and his vision for the village and its residents.

"The improvements will also enable us to explore some new themes in the permanent exhibitions such as of the Garden City Movement, early urban planning, the development of the village, soap making, and the history of Lever Brothers Port Sunlight."

The museum's tea room and visitor toilets will remain open throughout the refurbishment and visitors will still be able to book guided tours of the Village at the venue.

Katherine Lynch continued: "2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of Port Sunlight and these improvements are a key part of our celebration plans."

Cath Hare, programme manager at Biffa Award, said: "We are pleased to support the refurbishment work at Port Sunlight Museum.

"The improvements will attract more of the local community into the museum, allowing them greater access to the history and cultural heritage of the village."