News in brief | Latest funding, loans and more - Museums Association

News in brief | Latest funding, loans and more

Dippy finds a new home in Coventry while the National Railway Museum launches a Flying Scotsman gin
The Diplodocus cast is a favourite with families
The Diplodocus cast is a favourite with families Natural History Museum

Dippy heads to Coventry

The Natural History Museum has announced that its iconic Diplodocus skeleton cast, Dippy, will be moved to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum on 20 February 2023. The loan to the Herbert, for an initial period of three years, comes after the museum underwent a refurbishment in preparation for Coventry's year as UK City of Culture in 2021, enabling the gallery to display more works and exhibitions.

In 2019-20 Dippy embarked on an eight-city tour across the UK. All the venues and regions that played host to the cast reported what became known as the “Dippy effect”, with a record-breaking two million visitors recorded and an economic benefit of just under £36m across the eight regions.

Paul Breed, the CEO of CV Life, which operates the Herbert, said the loan was a “huge opportunity for Coventry and the wider economy”. A weatherproof bronze replica of the Diplodocus specimen will be erected in the grounds of the Natural History Museum as part of its Urban Nature Project, which is due for completion in early 2024.

The Wild Escape funding deadline extended in Wales

A young visitor admiring a nature display at the Florence Nightingale Museum (c) Hydar Diwachi

Hundreds of museum across the UK have signed up for Art Fund’s The Wild Escape, a participatory project for primary school children due to launch later this month. The project will invite children to the UK’s natural environment and draw inspiration from it to create artworks and stories. Funding for the project is ringfenced for each nation and the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales, which is distributing grants from £500 to £3,000 to museums in Wales, has extended its application deadline until Friday 13 January.


Accredited museums and primary schools can participate in the project by hosting workshops for children and their families where the children can explore wildlife in the museum’s collection. The artworks and stories created by the children will be displayed in museums and online for Earth Day 2023 on 22 April. Interested museums in Wales can apply for grants via the federation's website. Deadlines for grants in other nations have now closed but museums can still sign up to be involved.

Patient portrait returns to Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Portrait of a Young Man by Richard Dadd (c) Tate

The Portrait of a Young Man by acclaimed Victorian artist Richard Dadd will be displayed at Bethlem Museum of the Mind, the former psychiatric hospital where the artist spent 20 years as a patient. The portrait of a man sitting in a fantasy garden will be displayed at the museum in February as part of a new exhibition, The Faces We Present.

Loaned by the Tate with the support of the Weston Loan Programme, the painting will be displayed beside Dadd’s photographic portrait, which shows him working on the painting. The identity of the subject is unknown but it is widely believed to be either a fellow patient at the hospital or Dr William Hood, hospital’s physician superintendent, who encouraged Dadd to paint. The artist spent his life in psychiatric institutions after being convicted of his father’s murder at the age of 26, while suffering from a mental illness believed to be paranoid schizophrenia.

Sophia Weston, a trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are so pleased to have been able to support the display of this celebrated artwork at Bethlem, where it has such resonance.”


V&A reveals opening date for final phase of Photography Centre

Hoda Afshar, ‘Untitled #1’, from the series ‘Speak the Wind’, 2020 © Hoda Afshar

The V&A has announced the opening of the final phase of V&A’s Photography Centre on 25 May 2023. The Photography Centre would be the largest permanent photography collection in the UK. With four additional galleries, the Photography Centre would display global contemporary photography and cutting-edge commissions in rotating displays. Other new spaces of the centre would also have an interactive gallery dedicated to the history and use of the camera which will shine a light on photographic processes and the working of the camera. The collection will display notable works by Liz Johnson Artur, Sammy Baloji, Vera Lutter, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Tarrah Krajnak, Vasantha Yogananthan, and a photographic sculpture by Noémie Goudal.

National Portrait Gallery acquires Victorian lavatory

A Victorian underground toilet block on a traffic island near London's Leicester Square will be transformed into an exhibition space for the National Portrait Gallery. Closed in the 1970s, the lavatory has been acquired by the gallery as part of its expansion programme. The toilet block was used as a theatre ticket kiosk until 2021. The gallery is in the final stages of a three-year redevelopment and is due to open its main building in June 2023.

National Railway Museum launches Flying Scotsman gin

National Railway Museum in York is partnering with York Gin to create a special edition London Dry gin to celebrate this year's centenary of the steam locomotive Flying Scotsman. The gin's flavour profile of Scottish heather, Yorkshire lavender and black pepper imported into London is inspired by the locomotive’s daily 10am route from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley via York. Tom Mackie, group retail operations manager at the National Railway Museum, said: “We’re really excited to launch Flying Scotsman’s very own gin and it’s great to work with such a wonderful local company like York Gin to produce it.”

The Flying Scotsman will be on display alongside a revamped exhibition telling the story of the locomotive from 1-16 April 2023.

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