News story

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

Grants totalling £4 million to help improve 36 museums and galleries across the country were announced today by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The grants, jointly funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation, include:

  • £17,400 for Compton Verney gallery to redisplay the work of Enid Marx, one of the most important designers of the 20th Century and creator of the striking geometric designs of 1937 for the upholstery of London Underground
  • £140,000 for an extensive renovation and a complete redisplay of The Manchester Museum’s historic Birds & Insects gallery
  • £100,000 for a new gallery at the London Transport Museum that will showcase some of the 5000 printed posters and nearly 1000 original artworks which form a uniquely comprehensive record of a century of British graphic design
  • £150,000 towards a new permanent display of some of the most important collections of Baroque art, furniture, state beds and wall paintings in the country at Hampton Court Palace
  • £50,000 towards the reconstruction of a labourer’s cottage at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum. The cottage was originally built between 1675 and 1725 and has been  in storage since it was dismantled to make way for a reservoir in 1974. 

Ed Vaizey said:

“Today’s announcement shines a light on the breadth and diversity of museums and galleries in England. We are incredibly fortunate to have so many rich and fascinating collections, many of which have been improved, enhanced and made more accessible by the continuing generosity of the Wolfson Foundation.

“The Wolfson Foundation has an ongoing dedication to improving museums and galleries both large and small, across the whole country and the Government is delighted to be able to match that funding.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive  of the Wolfson Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to be working in such a productive and exciting partnership with government. The quality of projects funded demonstrates once again the sheer range and richness of the country’s heritage collections. Each project will help to improve the experience of visitors.”

Notes to Editors

  1. A full list of the 36 grant recipients for individual museums. Click on the museum name for further details and press images (click ‘next’ for addition images).

  2. An interactive map detailing all 36 projects is available on the DCMS Flickr page.

  3. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, explains how the DCMS/Wolfson fund will help tell the secrets of the royal bedchamber.

  4. In February 2011, it was announced as part of the Spending Review that DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation would each provide a further £4 million to enable the DCMS/Wolfson Fund to hold two bidding rounds in the 2011-15 spending period, each one awarding £4 million. 

  5. In this, the first of these two rounds, funds awarded will be available to be drawn down by successful applicants in the financial year 2012-13.  The second bidding round will be held in 2013-14, with the drawdown of funds in the financial year 2014-15. 

  6. A total of 101 museums/museums services are eligible to apply for funding.  The maximum amount each can apply for is 75% of the total cost of their project, up to a limit of £300,000.

  7. 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 for disabled visitors
  • Physical improvements to collection interpretation 
  • Improvements to environmental controls in public access spaces and galleries, in the context of improvements to visitor experience

    1. There are four categories of institution which are eligible to apply for grants from the DCMS/Wolfson Fund. These are: museums and galleries directly sponsored by DCMS; designated university-based collections; museums/museums services with designated collections and museums/museums services with non-designated collections in Regional Hubs.

    2. The DCMS/Wolfson Fund has distributed £47 million to 445 capital projects in eligible museums and galleries across England since 1990. The funding has been provided in equal shares by DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation.

    3. The Wolfson Foundation is a charitable foundation set up in 1955. Grants are made for the advancement of science and medicine, health, education, the arts and humanities. As a general policy, funding is provided to back excellence, to act as a catalyst and to provide for promising future projects which may currently be underfunded. Last year the Foundation distributed some £40 million.

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Updates to this page

Published 23 January 2012