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£390,000 boost for Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum

27 Jan 2012

Grants totalling £4 million to help improve 36 museums and galleries across the country have been announced by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.  The grants, jointly funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation, include substantial awards to The Manchester Museum and The Whitworth Art Gallery.

Ed Vaizey said: “The announcement shines a light on the breadth and diversity of museums and galleries in England.  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 Wolfson Foundation has an ongoing dedication to improving museums and galleries both large and small, across the whole country and the Government is delighted to be able to match that funding.”

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 Manchester Museum will receive £140,000 for Nature’s Library, an extensive renovation and a complete redisplay of its historic Birds & Insects gallery. The Grade II* listed gallery occupies the second floor of the Museum’s ‘1885 Building’, designed by the renowned Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse. The gallery has been virtually untouched for 25 years and Nature’s Library will see a comprehensive redisplay, which combines respect for tradition with a showcase for contemporary themes and research.

Nick Merriman, Director of the Manchester Museum said: "We are very excited about the news of this grant from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund.  Funding for ‘Nature’s Library’ will enable us to create a stunning redisplay of The Manchester Museum’s natural sciences collections and create much-improved resources for the 350,000 people who visit the Museum each year."  
The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, has been awarded £250,000 for renovation and extension of the Exhibition Galleries.
The DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund funded project, is part of a larger, £12m project (The 21st Century Gallery in the Park: A New Future for the Whitworth Art Gallery) which will transform the Gallery over the next two years.

Dr Maria Balshaw, Director, Whitworth Art Gallery added: "We are delighted that the DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation have made the decision to support the project. Their funds will create three extraordinary new gallery spaces which will give us the opportunity to bring the very best exhibitions and artworks to Manchester."

Notes for editors

Contact Jon Keighren, Media Relations Manager, The University of Manchester 0161 275 8384