Design for Travel gallery, London Transport Museum

Museum improvement fund awards £4m

Rebecca Atkinson, 23.01.2012
First round of awards announced
Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, the Ashmolean and Whitworth Art Gallery are among the major beneficiaries of grants to English museums and galleries announced today.

Grants totalling £4m have been awarded to 36 museums and galleries by the Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, which is equally funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation

Grants include £17,400 to Compton Verney in Warwickshire to redisplay the work of designer Enid Marx; £150,000 to redevelop the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron in Shropshire; and £75,000 for the renovation and redisplay of the Manchester Museum’s historic birds and insects gallery.

Funds will be available to the successful applicants in the financial year 2012-13.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have so many rich and fascinating collections, many of which have been improved, enhanced and made more accessible by the continuing generosity of the Wolfson Foundation.”

The museums and galleries improvement fund aims to improve displays, increase access and enhance public spaces. It was was relaunched last February after being suspended in 2009-10 ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

A second bidding round for a further £4m will be held in 2013-14, with the drawdown of funds in the financial year 2014-15. Museums are eligible to apply for up to 75% of the total cost of a project, with a cap of £300,000.

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be working in such a productive and exciting partnership with government.

"The quality of projects funded demonstrates once again the sheer range and richness of the country’s heritage collections. Each project will help to improve the experience of visitors.”

The fund's past awards include a local history gallery for Birmingham Museum and Art gallery; refurbishment of the Bovington Tank Museum; and improved access to the Natural History Museum at Tring.


An interactive map of all 36 projects on Flickr


Sort by: Most recent - Most liked
MA Member
23.01.2012, 23:00
Great news to hear that the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale is getting a makeover! The current display has been around so long, i wouldn't be surprised if Abraham Darby himself had a hand in its installation. Let's hope the new displays can make iron as exciting for our so-called post industrial age as it was for those working the fiery furnace of the industrial revolution.