Museums and galleries are among those to benefit from nearly £400m in grants and loans to help the culture sector recover from the Covid crisis.
This latest round of funding brings the government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund to more than £1.2bn across 5,000-plus individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.
Museums have benefited from more than £25m in this latest round of funding. The money has come via Arts Council England, one of the bodies administering the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Birmingham Museums Trust received a grant of £820,841 from the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The organisation, one of the largest independent museums trusts in the UK, has nine venues across the city and cares for about 1 million objects.
“The coronavirus crisis has changed many things and raised many questions,” said Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah, the co-CEOs of Birmingham Museums Trust. “What remains constant is Birmingham Museums’ mission to ensure everyone in the region has the opportunity to experience Birmingham’s world class collections regardless of age, background or financial means.
“While the challenges of the pandemic are not over, we can now begin to put plans into action for reopening Thinktank Science Museum and Birmingham Museums’ historic properties.”
London Transport Museum, which received £1,750,000 in the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund, will get another £875,000 to help it reopen to the public in a Covid-secure way.
“For London Transport Museum, this essential funding gives us a realistic shot at long-term recovery,” said Sam Mullins, the director of the museum. “It puts us back on track as we welcome our visitors again and kick-start the delivery of our education and employability programmes in person.”
Sheffield Museums, the new unified museums trust that brings together Museums Sheffield and Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, has been awarded £159,000 in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. The organisation, which formally came into effect on 1 April, is now one of the city’s largest cultural organisations, operating Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, Graves Gallery, Kelham Island Museum, Millennium Gallery, Shepherd Wheel and Weston Park Museum.
“It’s wonderful to receive the news as we begin our journey as Sheffield Museums – the new trust not only brings together fantastic museums, remarkable collections and a massively talented team, it presents a wealth of opportunity,” said Kim Streets, the chief executive of Museums Sheffield. “We’re currently working on plans for reopening and beyond, and we look forward to sharing those in the next few weeks.”
Bucks County Museum Trust received £216,758 from the second round of the fund. This independent museum in Aylesbury cares for 130,000 objects that tell the story of the people and landscapes of Buckinghamshire from 200 million years ago to today.
“We are very grateful to the arts council and DCMS for this significant grant, which will make a huge difference to the recovery of the museum in these difficult times,” said Sue Shave, the museum director at Bucks County Museum. “This funding will allow us to provide access to our collections and programmes again and a safe environment for our visitors. People have been denied access to culture for many months now and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back.”
Lakeland Arts in Cumbria has received a grant of £405,920 from the Culture Recovery Fund. Its portfolio of galleries and museums include Blackwell - the Arts & Crafts house and Windermere Jetty Museum in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria.
Rhian Harris, Lakeland Arts chief executive, said: “In this pandemic era, where life has been significantly restricted for everyone, museums and galleries are a vital part of communities’ recovery.
“At our cultural venues, we look forward to a busy summer beginning with the reopening of Windermere Jetty Museum café on 12 April, and our wonderful new season of exhibitions and experiences will be ready for visitors at both Blackwell - the Arts & Crafts house and Windermere Jetty Museum later this spring. We’re counting the days until we can welcome people safely back through our doors!”
A number of sector-support organisations also received grants as part of the Culture Recovery Fund, including the Museums Association, which received £150,000.
Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association, said: “This round of funding for the sector is very welcome and much needed. Museums across England are looking at reopening plans and eagerly awaiting welcoming their visitors safely back, and the investment from government will help them do that.
“We are also grateful for the funding for the MA which will help us continue to support museums and those that work with them through our professional development, online training, guidance and events.”