Buxton museum and Art Gallery is to receive £150,000 from The Wolfson Foundation, a charity which awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science and medicine, the arts and humanities, education, health and disability.It has also been awarded £94,500 from Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.Both successful bids will be used towards the £1.5 million programme to redevelop the museum and art gallery.
In 2015 the museum was awarded £869,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to redevelop its main archaeology and geology galleries, digital access to its collections for people to use at home, in libraries and in the countryside on phones, tablets and other devices.
The redevelopment work also includes improving access to the museum, which is being funded by £330,000 from the county council. This work includes installing a lift between the ground and first floor galleries.The latest successful awards have been welcomed by Derbyshire County Council as they will ensure all the desired work can now be carried out.
The £150,000 from The Wolfson Foundation will be used to help visitors to the museum explore science and technology throughout the collections. This will include ensuring there are lots of objects to touch, a microscope so that people can look at objects closely, dressing up items, puzzles and clear, well-written information for people of all ages and interests.
A new, accessible and welcoming foyer area, including a reception and shop will result from the new award of £94,500 from Arts Council England.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said:
This is an exciting time for the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and we are very grateful for the generous support shown by the organisations which have awarded funds to the redevelopment.We believe this support is a reflection of the importance with which our museum and its collections are held and we are confident the redevelopment will provide a new museum experience for Buxton residents and visitors to the town.While the museum will have to close for some months for the work to be carried out, we are confident the finished results will be well worth the wait and that by doing this we will ensure the long-term future of the museum.
Arts Council England Area Director Peter Knott said:
In the Midlands we’re fortunate to have an exceptional mix of museums on our doorstep housing local histories and national treasures.We believe these museums, and the objects they keep safe, play a vital part in community life, helping us to celebrate our heritage, deepening our knowledge of the world around us and entertaining people of all ages.This latest investment from our Museum Resilience Fund is about helping our region’s museums become more sustainable businesses so their rich collections can be used and enjoyed for many years to come.
The museum, which welcomed 37,000 visitors last year, will close its doors to the public at the end of the day on Sunday 4 September 2016 for the redevelopment work to begin, and over the winter the galleries will be transformed, with the aim of re-opening in spring 2017.
While the museum is closed, staff will be out and about with a `Pop-Up Museum’, travelling across Derbyshire and setting up a gazebo for the public to visit. People will get the chance to handle museum items from collections, take part in activities and test out the new digital channels the museum has been piloting. The first Pop-Up Museum will be on Saturday 10 September outside Buxton Opera House, as part of the Heritage Open Days.
Other dates will be posted on the museum’s Facebook page and sent out via Twitter @BuxtonMuseum.