Focus on sustainability in latest round of DCMS/Wolfson funding - Museums Association

Focus on sustainability in latest round of DCMS/Wolfson funding

Thirty-three institutions in England get a share of £4m to improve access and facilities
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Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal has received a grant to review its energy controls
Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal has received a grant to review its energy controls Photo: Tony West

Museums and galleries across England will share £4m in the latest round of the DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Gallery Improvement Fund.

In total, 33 museums received grants to improve displays, protect collections and make exhibitions more accessible to visitors, including 26 outside London.

There was a particular focus on supporting museums and galleries to adopt energy saving measures and improve sustainability in this year’s funding round.

The National Motor Museum in the New Forest will use its grant of £200,000 to install new heating and lighting to improve environmental performance. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, in Kendal, received £40,500 to review its environmental controls for collections to reduce energy use.

Other grant awardees included the Bowes Museum in Durham, which received £254,900 to develop four new gallery spaces that will be co-created with the local community to ensure they are fully accessible for people with reduced mobility and sensory impairments.

The People’s History Museum in Manchester was awarded a grant of £214,300 to improve access to the museum for people with disabilities by installing accessible doors, lifts and toilets; improving stairs and walkways with handrails and ramps; and installing signs around the museum to make it more accessible.


A grant of £71,700 will help Derby Museums to improve accessibility at Grade I listed Pickford’s House by using virtual reality to bring the house to a wider audience, while Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield has received £45,000 to improve displays in collaboration with its local communities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation each contribute £2m to the joint fund, which aims to help museums and galleries make their collections as accessible to the public as possible through improving building access, facilities, displays and collections storage. The fund has benefited more than 400 projects in its 20-year history.

“Thanks to this combination of public funding and private philanthropy, these awards will help people who may have previously found visiting museums and galleries difficult and make sure everyone can enjoy and engage with the wonderful collections and exhibitions they offer,” said arts minister Stephen Parkinson.

“With 80% of the money going to museums outside the capital, this funding is further evidence of the government’s commitment to levelling up and widening access to culture.”

Awards by region:

East Midlands

Pickford’s House: £71,700 for The Reimagined Home: Changing views of Home, Work and Family for an Inclusive, Digital Age

East of England

Food Museum: £89,600 for Bridge to the Future


Grant Museum of Zoology: £100,000 for Species under threat

Royal College of Music Museum: £33,000 for Bringing early instruments to life through 3D modelling

Jewish Museum London: £80,000 for build of new collections storerooms and under-represented heritage

Museum of the Home: £200,000 for Homes Through Time Redux

London Transport Museum: £80,000 for LTM Lab

The Wallace Collection: £50,000 for the creation of a new display space and relocation of the cloakroom

Natural History Museum (South Kensington): £100,000 for Mammals Galleries Project (Mammals Hall)

North East

Oriental Museum: £104,500 for New Voices: Redisplaying and Reinterpreting the Malcolm MacDonald Gallery of Chinese Art and Archaeology

The Bowes Museum: £254,900 for Inspiring Communities – Collections, Curiosity and Conversations

North West

People’s History Museum: £214,300 for Nothing About Us Without Us – Creating Access for Everyone at People’s History Museum

Manchester Art Gallery: £150,000  for transforming storage and access for Manchester’s Civic Collection

The Whitworth: £80,000 for The Whitworth Welcome

Abbot Hall Art Gallery: £40,500 for Testing Ground

South East

Discover Bucks Museum: £60,000 for Creating Collections Capacity

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust: £100,000 for No.1 Smithery – Forging the future of display, conservation, and interpretation of maritime collections.

Mary Rose Museum: £74,900 for safeguarding and storing the Mary Rose Collection and Archive

Museum of English Rural Life: £54,300 for Developing Display: Improving Exhibition Spaces at St Andrew’s Hall

Museum of Natural History: £125,000 for Life, as we know it – Redisplaying Oxford University Museum of Natural History

National Motor Museum: £200,000 for Motoring into the Future – Phase 1

Hampton Court Palace: £201,400 for Re-opening of the Wolsey Rooms and re-interpretation of an iconic Tudor Art collection

South West

Tate St Ives: £54,300 for Barbara Hepworth Museum accessibility ramp

The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum: £202,500 for Making Connections

Torquay Museum: £250,000 for Journey through the Ice Age – re-engaging communities with its Designated Quaternary collection

The Etches Collection – Museum of Jurassic Marine Life: £219,500 for protecting and preserving our internationally important fossil collection

The Tank Museum: £100,000 for the transition to passive storage

National Maritime Museum Cornwall: £237,000 for revitalising the museum’s boat hall

West Midlands

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: £150,000 for enabling the redisplay of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Ancient Civilizations Galleries

Yorkshire and The Humber

Experience Barnsley Museum & Discovery Centre: £37,500  for Barnsley’s Chamber of Treasures

National Science and Media Museum: £100,000 for Sound & Vision

Kelham Island Museum: £45,000 for More to See

Temple Newsam: £140,100 for What the Butler Saw: revealing treasures, improving access and creating capacity at Temple Newsam House

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