DCMS/Wolfson arts funding to make museums and galleries more accessible for people across country

  • Funding will help make museums more accessible through initiatives like building ramps and improving displays
  • Particular focus on helping organisations to be more sustainable and adopt energy saving measures

Museums and galleries across England will receive a share of £4 million to improve displays, protect collections and make exhibitions more accessible to visitors.

The cash boost will go to 33 museums, 26 of which are outside London, from the joint DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. Both DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation contributed £2 million to this round of the fund, which has benefited more than 400 projects in its 20-year history.

The fund aims to help museums and galleries make their collections as accessible to the public as possible, whether that be through building accessible ramps and facilities, improving collection storage to protect them for the future or getting more of their collections out on display.

In this latest round of funding, the People’s History Museum in Manchester will receive 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.

This year there has also been a particular focus on supporting museums and galleries in adopting energy saving measures and improving sustainability.

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

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

The DCMS/Wolfson Fund aims to make sure more people can access our brilliant museums and galleries right across the county.

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.

With 80 percent 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.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said:

We’re delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with DCMS, which has now awarded over £50 million to outstanding museums and galleries over the past two decades.

While the projects funded are many and varied, they will all improve access to the treasures of our museums and galleries – allowing more people to enjoy and learn from these impressive collections, as well as safeguarding them for the future.

The Bowes Museum which manages a Grade I listed building as well as a designated collection and parkland in County Durham has received a grant of £254,900 to develop four new gallery spaces – bringing more of their collections to the public. The new galleries will be created together with the local community to make sure they are fully accessible for people with reduced mobility and sensory impairments.

£71,700 will help Derby Museums to improve accessibility at Grade I listed Pickford’s House to help the museum use virtual reality to bring the house to a wider audience. Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield will receive £45,000 to improve displays in collaboration with their local communities.

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