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Million pound investment in Midland museums

  • Date: 5 March 2014
  • Area: Midlands
Black Country Living Museum

Credit: Image courtesy Black Country Living Museum

More than one million pounds will be invested in 10 museums across the Midlands to support new volunteer programmes, education and employment opportunities, and innovative exhibitions to attract and inspire visitors.

As part of the Arts Council’s Renaissance strategic support programme a total of £1,455,114 will be invested in 10 museums throughout the Midlands over the next year.

Through this programme the Arts Council provides financial backing for projects which aim to strengthen and support museums and improve their visitor offer. This could be projects which attract new audiences; use technology in creative and inventive ways; or generate opportunities for learning and employment.

In this way, our investment benefits local communities where the museums are based as well as supporting the development of innovation, resilience and sustainability within the wider museum sector

The Midlands is home to a wealth of museums which tell a myriad of stories about the area’s heritage, from the age of the Anglo-Saxons to the birth of the industrial revolution.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in museums is important if we are to make the most of our country’s heritage and the rich cultural offer it presents. I’m really pleased that these 10 museums will benefit from this round of investment. There is a wide range of projects planned which will see young people access new training opportunities; untold stories bought to life in new and insightful exhibitions; and the potential for growth in the regional tourist economy.” 

The successful projects are:

Black Country Living Museum, West Midlands - £263,600
Culture and Enterprise

The Black Country Living Museum tells the story of the area’s industrial heritage, showing visitors what life was like during the industrial revolution and introducing them to the knowledge and expertise needed for traditional craftsmanship. This project will focus on the development of a 10 year plan which includes creating heritage apprenticeships for local college students. Alongside these apprenticeships, the museum will create volunteering opportunities for young people aged 16-25 in the Black Country.

Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Shropshire - £163,326
Swords & Fire

This project focuses on the creation, development and delivery of Swords & Fire, a new profit-making touring exhibition based on the Staffordshire Hoard. The exhibition will include historical artefacts from the collection and feature new digital resources, including an app, augmented reality and gigapixel images. As well as producing Swords & Fire this project will look at the production of merchandise inspired by the collection to increase the exhibition’s retail offer.

Museum of Archaeology, Nottinghamshire - £54,720
Volunteer and Collections access programme

The Museum of Archaeology has a collection of artefacts from across the East Midlands which have become the focus for a wide range of education and engagement activities. This project will increase the involvement the museum’s volunteer team has with this collection to make it more accessible. It will also focus on the development of outreach activities to engage new and diverse audiences, including schools.

University Of Birmingham, West Midlands- £80,000
Renovation of Lapworth Geological Museum

Based at the University of Birmingham, the Lapworth Museum of Geology has the most extensive collections of fossils, minerals and rocks in the region. This project will see the museum transformed from a ‘university museum’ to a 'public museum'. The Learning Resources Room will be refurbished to provide interesting and engaging learning experiences for a wide range of audiences, making the collections accessible for audiences outside the university. The museums links with the university will also enable new research to be shared and new digital technology to be explored.

Charnwood Borough Council, Leicestershire - £119,600
Ladybird Ladybird

Charnwood Museum is situated in Loughborough, the home of Ladybird books. Through imaginative activities and displays, some of which will be co-produced with members of the local community, this project will make the most of the museum’s extensive Ladybird collection. It will enable the development of new audiences, including better engagement with families and children. The co-production of material will contribute to a centenary exhibition of Ladybird books in 2015.

The Egalitarian Trust, Nottinghamshire - £109,842 
Get up, Stand up

Get up, Stand up will build on the Galleries of Justice established education programme for young people by engaging new and diverse audiences, particularly teenagers from BME backgrounds. New interpretive materials which look at English Civil Rights from an international and multi-cultural perspective will be created and co-curated by young people using creative and digital technologies. As part of the project The Galleries of Justice will work closely with New Art Exchange and The Mighty Creatives. 

The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Warwickshire - £286,417
Culture Coventry Museum Development

This project will support Culture Coventry to embed audience development alongside commercial and charitable fundraising. It will focus on developing the collections using new technology; community engagement through on and offsite workshops; and digital innovation through multi-lingual audio guides in community languages. Corporate hire, retail and the redevelopment of the Lunt Roman Fort to create an entertaining and educational visitor offer will all increase income generation.

Leicester Shire Promotions, Leicestershire - £163,000         
Revealing the Treasures of Foxton Locks

Located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal, Foxton Locks is a national heritage site which combines the largest flight of locks in the English Canal system; the Foxton Inclined Plane; and the Canal Museum. This project will put the museum at the heart of this heritage site. To attract audiences, new visitor experiences will be created, including the commissioning of a digital boat lift, audio visual interpretation trails and the remodelling of displays.

Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire - £145,064
Heritage and Culture Warwickshire

This project will invest in the development of a business plan to support Heritage and Culture Warwickshire when it moves into Trust in 2015. To maintain a high quality experience for visitors and make Warwickshire’s heritage and culture accessible to audiences, the project will review the current business model. This will explore commercial and revenue generating opportunities to ensure sustainability.

Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, Worcestershire - £69,545
Animating Worcestershire's Museums

Avoncroft Museum plan to create a team of trained staff who will use costumes and live interpretation to bring the stories behind the museum’s collections to life. These interpreters will give visitors a more entertaining and insightful understanding of the collections through performances and demonstrations. The museum will also research a business model to support this project which can be used by the wider museum sector.