Museums secure funding for redevelopment projects - Museums Association

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Museums secure funding for redevelopment projects

Norfolk Museums Service, Glasgow Life and Royal Cornwall Museum reveal ambitious plans
Capital projects Funding
Ancient House, Thetford
Ancient House, Thetford © Norfolk Museums Service

A number of museums across the UK are embarking on ambitious redevelopment projects after securing new funding.

Ancient House Museum, Thetford

Norfolk Museums Service has announced that it has received nearly £200,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (Heritage Fund) for a scheme related to the 100th anniversary of Ancient House, Museum of Thetford.

The money will be used to celebrate the centenary and tell the story of its benefactors, the Duleep Singh family.

Other funding for the two-year project has come from the Thetford Town Council community grant, the Friends of Thetford Museum, Norfolk County Council and Arts Council England as part of the Norfolk Museum Service’s National Portfolio Organisation grant.

Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, son of the Maharajah Duleep Singh, purchased the timbered Tudor house and gifted it to the people of Thetford as a public museum charity with the council as trustee. Ancient House opened as a museum on the 11 December 1924. 

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Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities, Norfolk County Council, said: “Through the fore-sighted generosity of Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, for the past 100 years Ancient House Museum has served the people of Thetford and beyond, preserving the history of the town and surrounding area.

"We are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this award which will enable the museum to better serve our diverse communities and promote a deeper appreciation of an important aspect of the town’s heritage.”

People's Palace, Glasgow

In Glasgow, a scheme to reimagine the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens has secured £850,000 from the Heritage Fund. The money is designed to help Glasgow Life, the charity which delivers culture and sport in the city, develop an application for a further £6.65m to completely revamp the site.

The development phase will take about 16 months and will include work with local communities to discover how the museum can best tell the city’s stories. The investment in the museum will focus on making the building more accessible and improving its environmental sustainability.

Bailie Annette Christie, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “For 126 years the People's Palace and Winter Gardens has been one of Glasgow’s most treasured spaces, but it is now in need of significant investment.

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“This announcement of Heritage Fund support is wonderful and crucial to breathing new life into the museum. While there is still work to be done to secure additional external funding, we can now move forward with this exciting project to restore, re-imagine, and improve a much-loved cultural and historical asset.”

Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro

In South-West England, the redevelopment of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro has been boosted by £2.1m from the Good Growth Programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

The funding will enable the transformation of the Heart of Cornwall exhibition, the main gallery of the museum. It will also fund improvements to the nature gallery and the museum entrance and garden, which will improve accessibility.

Funding from the Good Growth Programme is the latest in a series of successful funding bids by the museum designed to secure its future by transforming how its collection are presented and safeguarding the building.

Cornwall Council previously provided £200,000 of transitional funding while the museum put together a longer-term funding solution. The Heritage Fund gave £250,000, and Arts Council England awarded £1.5m through the Museum Estate and Development Fund, which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to address the infrastructure and maintenance needs of the museum sector.

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In July last year the museum was awarded £460,000 from the Truro Town Deal to refurbish its renowned Mineral Gallery. 

Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy, says: “Royal Cornwall Museum tells an incredibly important story, engaging our communities, visitors and young people in Cornwall’s history and heritage.

Bryony Robins, artistic director of the museum, said: “This funding will have a positive impact on so many people, enabling us to continue our transformation, and improve the experience for our visitors and allowing us to become more accessible to more people.

“The main hall and Heart of Cornwall Gallery will see improvements to how we share the story of Cornish heritage and culture, and the Nature Gallery which is extremely popular with families and an essential story to be told in the face of climate change will also be transformed.”

Valence House Museum, Dagenham

Finally, Valence House Museum in Dagenham, east London, has been awarded been awarded £811,250 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Museum Estate and Development Fund.

The money will go towards urgent maintenance and infrastructure works. The manor house museum, which is on a historic site that can be traced back to medieval period, will also use the funding to invest in green space and restore its historic moat.

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