Artist impression of the new development

HLF awards Black Country Living Museum £9.8m

Rebecca Atkinson, 16.06.2017
National Portrait Gallery also awarded £9.4m for expansion plan
The Black Country Living Museum (BCLM) in Dudley and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London have been awarded grants by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for expansion projects.

The BCLM received £9.8 million for Forging Ahead, a £21.7m scheme that will see the open-air museum expand by a third with a new development exploring what it was like to live and work in the Black Country in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.



To do this, a number of buildings at risk of demolition will be relocated "brick by brick" to the museum, including the West Bromwich Gas Showroom and William Griffin & Sons Proving House. Other buildings that exist but cannot be relocated, such as a butchers and a branch of West Bromwich Building Society, will be replicated on the site.

And a number of lost buildings will be recreated using archive material and images.

The BCLM wants to increase its visitor numbers from 300,000 to 500,000 a year by 2022, create 60 new jobs and 35 apprenticeships.

HLF also awarded £9.4m to the NPG for a major rehang of its collection and refurbishment project, which will see its exhibition space increase by 20%.

New galleries will be created in its East Wing, which hasn’t been accessible to the public since the 1960s, and in the main lobby where an introductory space will give visitors immediate access to the collection.

As part of the project, the NPG will also launch a nationwide schools programme for teaching history, citizenship, literacy and art through portraiture. This will bhe supported through a training programme for teachers and a new learning centre.

And it will introduce a volunteering scheme and a partnerships programme with museums and organisations throughout the country.

“We are particularly pleased that this funding will also be used to increase the gallery’s reach across the UK by working closely with a number of cultural institutions, from South Wales to Sheffield, and with a focus on young people, families and those with special needs,” said Peter Luff, the chairman of the HLF.

The NPG has already raised £7m towards the project, and aims to reach its target of £35.5m by March 2019 in order to complete the project by 2022.

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