Home » Museums to benefit from £24 million investment to fund major infrastructure projects

Museums to benefit from £24 million investment to fund major infrastructure projects

  • 67 projects across England have already benefited from the scheme
  • Fourth round of the Museum Estate and Development Fund launched

Museums are set to benefit from £24 million of funding as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting world-class culture in all corners of the country.

Museums across England which are accredited by Arts Council England are encouraged to apply for a share of £23.8 million funding in the latest round of the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND), which has been launched today by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The fund is part of the Government’s long-term plan to support local economic growth and will support capital projects at museums, fund important repairs, and improve the visitor experience with grants being available from £50,000 to £5 million to ensure local history has a home for years to come.

Since it was launched in 2021, 67 projects have received a total of more than £40 million, with funding having already benefited a wide variety of museums. Among the successful applicants were Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, where it has funded stonework repairs, and the Framework Knitters Museum in Nottingham, where it supported urgent repairs to its roof, chimneys, windows and gutters.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

Museums across the country form the heart of their community, helping people to learn about our shared heritage, and attracting tourists to the local area.

Over the past two years I’ve been delighted to see how this fund has provided vital support to museums across the country, enabling them to improve their buildings and share their wonderful collections with a wider audience.

The additional funding we are announcing today will mean that even more museums can fund major infrastructure projects, demonstrating the Government’s strong commitment to supporting culture and making sure that everyone has access to brilliant arts and heritage, no matter where they live.

Previous projects which have benefited from the Museum Estate and Development (MEND) Fund include the following:

  • Warwick District Council was awarded £2.3 million in 2022 to deliver vital maintenance to Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, based in the town’s Grade II-listed Royal Pump Rooms. Works include replacing the roof, improving environmental conditions within the gallery and allowing previously closed galleries to reopen, replacing rooflights, and repairing ceilings and walls.
  • Derby Museum and Art Gallery, a landmark building in the heart of the city which dates from 1879, received £750,000 in 2021 for a project to undertake the replacement of roofs, address rainwater problems, install accessible toilets and handrails, and make improvements to lighting levels.
  • The London Transport Museum, the world’s leading museum of urban transport, has a collection including famous design icons such as the Tube Map, the black cab, and the Routemaster bus, as well as a world-leading collection of poster art and urban design. It received £277,093 in 2021 for essential upgrades to its visitor lifts, making them safer, more energy efficient and more reliable.
  • The Grade I-listed Harewood House in West Yorkshire boasts interiors by the designer and architect Robert Adam and furnishings and fittings designed by Thomas Chippendale. Its £497,474 grant, awarded in 2022, is working to address the deterioration of the external joinery, including roof lanterns, windows and doors. Further masonry repairs will protect the fabric of the house from water ingress.
  • Bletchley Park, the museum and former top-secret Second World War code-breaking centre near Milton Keynes, was given £468,000 in 2021 to pay for essential maintenance works to its electrical and water service.
  • Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, one of the world’s first purpose-built museums, which was designed to showcase William Smith’s geological collections in the early 19th Century, received a grant of £256,054 through the first round of the fund in 2021 for stonework repairs to the facade of the Grade II listed building.
  • The Framework Knitters Museum in Nottingham, which tells the story of early mechanical sewing and how it gave birth to Nottingham’s lace industry, was awarded £62,925 in 2021 for urgent repairs to roofing, chimneys, windows and gutters on its historic building.

The successful applicants to the third round of funding launched last year worth £22.6 million are due to be announced in the spring.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:

Museums bring huge benefits to towns and cities across England and the people who live in them.  By investing in the infrastructure they need, we can make sure our museums are fit for the future, and can make an even greater contribution to their local economies and communities.

We’re excited to continue delivering the programme on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, and look forward to seeing the impact of the projects it supports.

This funding builds on £15.2 million of support from the Government’s Cultural Development Fund which was announced last month. Both the Museum and Estate Development Fund and the Cultural Development Fund form part of the Cultural Investment Fund, along with the Libraries Investment Fund. Through the first two rounds of the Cultural Investment Fund, 134 organisations across the country have received a share of £106.8 million.

Notes to editors:

Arts Council England delivers this fund on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Guidance has been published today by Arts Council England to provide further information for accredited museums considering making an application.

The online portal to register Expressions of Interest opens on 4th March 2024.