MIL-OSI UK: Press release: Winners of £4 million DCMS Wolfson fund announced

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

  • Grants will allow institutions across the country to increase access, transform displays and enhance public spaces
  • Over 80% of the £4 million funding will go to museums outside of London

Thirty-five museums across the country will receive a share of £4 million to increase access to their collections, Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism and Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation announced today.

The DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund supports national and regional museums across England to improve the quality of displays, enhance exhibition spaces and public access, and increase awareness of their collections.

Jointly funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and philanthropic charity, the Wolfson Foundation, the fund has so far given £48 million to help 382 projects at 114 museum groups and galleries since it was started in 2001.

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said:

Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we are rightly proud of these institutions. The DCMS/Wolfson Fund demonstrates how the government and philanthropic organisations can work together to boost our museum sector.

We want people up and down the country to enjoy culture and heritage wherever they are. The 35 grants awarded today will make important contributions towards improving the visitor experience; ensuring our wonderful collections are open to as many people as possible.

The Minister and Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, visited the Horniman Museum and Gardens today, in Forest Hill, South East London, which is one of this year’s successful recipients.

The Horniman will receive a grant of £90,000 to redevelop its Music Gallery to support the ‘Music in the Making’ project. Musicians from a range of genres including classical, grime and R&B will be commissioned to create and perform works inspired by the Horniman’s collection, transforming the way in which audiences interact with the museum.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said:

We are delighted to provide this funding through our longstanding partnership with DCMS – an excellent example of how we as a charity can work together fruitfully with government. We are grateful to DCMS for matching our funding.

One of the great treasures of this country is the sheer quality and range of our heritage collections – stored and displayed in wonderful museums and galleries. This funding will help to provide even better visitor experiences and greater awareness of these fascinating collections. A particular joy of this funding round has been the impressive mix of the projects supported: from a dress collection at Carlisle’s Tullie House to temporary exhibition space in Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum.

Other successful museums include three museums in Manchester who are set to receive a joint total of more than £240,000 to support projects at the Manchester Museum, the People’s History Museum and Chetham’s Library. Manchester Museum will receive £190,000 for their project ‘hello future’, which will create inclusive and imaginative exhibitions on zoology, earth sciences and archaeology.

Tullie House in Carlisle has received a grant of £252,000 for their project ‘Dressed to Impress’. The Museum looks after an outstanding collection of fine art, natural science and archeology and this project will significantly improve access for visitors to an exhibition looking at changing fashion styles dating from 1720 onwards. The DCMS/Wolfson funding will allow the museum to conserve and display 40 outfits for the first time.

The Museum of East Anglian Life looks after 17 historic buildings and their successful project, Heritage Farm, will receive £250,000. The project is the first part of a 10-year plan to become the national museum of food and will help to address issues such as childhood obesity, conservation conscious farming and increase the number of visitors to Suffolk.

The successful museums and galleries are part of the thirteenth round of funding from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.


Notes to editors:

This is the thirteenth round of a joint fund which DCMS runs in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation. The fund aims to provide capital funding for museums and galleries across England to deliver projects in one or a number of the following key areas:

Material improvements to the display and interpretation of collections, in both permanent galleries and exhibition spaces

Improvements to access and/or interpretation for visitors with disabilities

Physical improvements to public spaces to enhance visitor experience

Improvements to environmental controls, collections storage and conservation facilities to enhance the care of collections

About the Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation ( is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities, including awarding the Wolfson History Prize, the UK’s foremost history prize. Since it was established in 1955, over £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 11,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.

Successful projects by region are as follows:

North West

Chetham’s Library, Manchester, Opening up Chetham’s Library – £25,500

Manchester Museum, Manchester Museum: hello future – £190,000

People’s History Museum, Manchester, Improving Storage at the People’s History Museum –

Tullie House, Carlisle, ‘Dressed to Impress’: Showcasing a collection of national significance; transforming a historic space – £252,500

East of England

Museum of East Anglian Life, Heritage Farm: enabling the masterplan – £250,000

West Midlands

Black Country Living Museum, BCLM: Forging Ahead, Cast-Iron Houses – £90,000

Potteries Museum, Stoke-On-Trent, ‘Operation Spitfire’ – £210,000

South West

Dorset County Museum, Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset: Collections Care and Access – £175,000

National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Investment in infrastructure to support our developing major temporary exhibition programme – £96,500

Russell-Cotes, Bournemouth, Reinterpretation and Reconnecting Project – £115,500

Southampton City Art Gallery, Lighting Up – £98,000

SS Great Britain, Bristol, SS Great Britain environmental monitoring improvements and Conservation in Action display – £50,000

Tank Museum, Wareham, Second World War Galleries Redisplay (Phase 1) – £120,000

The Wilson, Cheltenham, Observation, Imagination and Making; 100 years on – Ernest Gimson and the Arts and Crafts Movement – £100,000

Yorkshire and the Humber

Cannon Hall Museum, Cracking Ceramics! – £60,000

Hull Maritime Museum, Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City – £150,000

Weston Park, Sheffield, Stories from Ancient Egypt to Sheffield – £187,000

East Midlands

Derby Silk Mill, Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill – Enhancing the temporary exhibition space – £90,000

National Holocaust Centre, Nottingham, Enhancing the Visitor Experience at The National Holocaust Centre and Museum – £31,000

Nottingham Castle, The Story of Nottingham Lace: a new Lace Gallery in Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery – £200,000

North East

Stephenson Railway Museum, North Shields, Pioneers from the Dawn of Railways: Killingworth Billy & the Willington Waggonway (The Stephensons – North Tyneside to the world) – £94,500

Sunderland Museum, Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens Development (Phase 2 – Increasing Audiences) – £156,000

Oriental Museum Durham, Silk Road Gallery – £50,000

South East

Bucks County Museum, Touch of Bucks Gallery Redevelopment – £200,000

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Essential Enhancements to the Victorian Ropery Gallery and Visitor Experience – £100,000

Luton Culture, Hat Works – The renovation and reanimation of the heritage of Luton’s Industrial past – £100,000

Pitt Rivers, Oxford, Engaging the senses: activating the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Photograph and Sound Collections through digital audio-visual technology – £70,500


Courtauld Gallery, Courtauld Connects – £100,000

Geffrye Museum, Unlocking the Geffrye: Collections Study Room and Reading Lounge – £90,000

Horniman Museum and Gardens, Music in the Making – Gallery Improvements – £90,000

IWM London, Transforming IWM London: Phase 2 – £100,000

London Transport Museum, London’s Transport at War – bringing the story to life – £82,500

Petrie Museum, London, Petrie and Edwards: Gateway to the World of Egyptology – £110,000

Science Museum, London: Science City – £70,000

Tate Britain, Tate Britain New Displays 2020: Gallery Improvements – £70,500