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£4 million grants announced for English Museums and Galleries under DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund

Grants will allow institutions across the country to increase access, improve displays and enhance public spaces.

Grants totalling £4 million have been awarded to improve displays and facilities at museums and galleries across England, Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, announced today.

The grants, jointly funded through a partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Wolfson Foundation, will be used for renovation and improvement projects in 39 museums and galleries.

It will allow institutions across the country to increase access, improve displays and enhance public spaces.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said:

Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions.

We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.

I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.

Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding. The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections. From Egyptian mummies in Leicester to a Roman fort on Tyneside, this is a gloriously diverse set of projects - but all demonstrate excellence and all will improve the visitor experience.

In announcing these awards I also want to pay tribute to Giles Waterfield. He was a brilliant advisor to the programme from its inception and sparkled at an expert panel meeting in the very week in which he tragically and unexpectedly died. We all owe him a great deal.

Successful grants include:

The Weald and Downland Museum in Chichester

£224,500 towards an exciting project to reconstruct two significant but currently dismantled historic buildings dedicated to the production of food. The project will develop the museum’s educational programme and the accessibility of its collections.

The Bolton Library and Museum Service

£200,000 towards its First Impressions project which will transform the visitor experience in the 1939 Grade II Listed building by creating a new welcoming and engaging space in which their collections can be viewed.

Leicester Arts and Museum Service

£145,000 to refurbish its Ancient Egyptian Gallery. The refurbished space in the upstairs gallery will house its Ancient Egyptian collection, one of the most significant in the country, and help increase family and school visitors.

National Football Museum in Manchester

£102,156 to extend its main galleries and create two new exhibition spaces. The fund will allow the museum to put the Chris Unger History of Women’s Football Collection and its expanded football toys and games collection on public display for the first time.

The partnership between DCMS and Wolfson has now committed £44 million and funded 382 projects throughout England since the Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund was created in 2001.

Notes to Editors

This is the twelfth round of a joint fund which DCMS runs in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation. The fund aims to provide capital funding for museums and galleries across England to deliver projects in one or a number of the following key areas:

  • Renovation and improvement of the display of exhibits in permanent galleries and exhibition spaces;
  • Improvements to public spaces and access to the collection;
  • Physical improvements to access and facilities for disabled visitors;
  • Physical improvements to collection interpretation;
  • Improvements to environmental controls in public access spaces and galleries.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities. It has awarded over £800 million (£1.7 billion in real terms) to some 10,000 projects across the UK, all on the basis of expert peer review. Established in 1955, the Wolfson Foundation celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015.

Images of Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock and Paul Ramsbottom are available on request.

For more information, contact DCMS press office on 020 7211 6513.


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