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Major funding to bring new galleries and space to Manchester Museum

04 May 2018

Manchester Museum has received a confirmed grant of £4,215,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Manchester Museum new entrance

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the project will develop and transform the museum by providing new exhibition space, the North’s first South Asian gallery and an extended and more ambitious programme of activities. 

Through ‘The Courtyard project’, Manchester Museum will become the UK’s most imaginative, inclusive and caring museum. This transformation, driven by social purpose, will make the museum more relevant and welcoming to all ages and communities. 

Work will start in August 2018 and the finished building will reopen in late 2020. The transformation will include:

  • A major new Temporary Exhibitions Gallery enabling the museum to become the North of England’s leading venue for producing and hosting international-quality exhibitions on human cultures and the natural world. The  space will be a new home for high-profile shows, drawing visitors from across the North of England who previously would have had to travel to London to see shows of such scale. 
  • The North of England’s first large-scale gallery of South Asian history and culture, created in partnership with the British Museum, bringing together the very best of Manchester Museum’s own South Asian collections and world-class sculpture, textiles and artefacts from the British Museum. 
  • A new Oxford Road-facing entrance, welcome area and shop, to create a more visible and welcoming first impression. Throughout, particular emphasis will be placed on accessible design for older visitors and people with a disability. 
  • Underpinning the transformation, there will be a dynamic co-created participatory programme to imaginatively address some of the key issues of our time; climate change, ageing, migration and belonging. This will extend the museum’s award-winning volunteering work and be pivotal to changing how we work with and reach new audiences. 

News of HLF support marks the second major commitment towards this £12.7 million scheme, following a Treasury announcement of £5million towards the South Asia Gallery in November 2015. 

The museum predicts hundreds of thousands of new visitors, including an additional 11,000 school children each year. 

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum said: “With new world-class spaces for extraordinary objects and stories, more volunteering opportunities and imaginative partnerships, Manchester Museum will reflect and explore the needs, interests and opportunities of the diverse communities we serve. The project will develop and transform the museum to bring more wonder and inspiration from around the world to the people of Greater Manchester and beyond.” 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “As Mayor I’ve pledged to support our thriving cultural institutions across Greater Manchester. We must continue to invest in our cultural facilities, not only to attract new visitors from the UK and beyond, but for the benefit of people across our city-region.

"Manchester Museum holds a special place in my affection, having spent many a long Sunday there when my kids were young. I am thrilled to see them expanding and improving their facilities."

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Museum brings hundreds of thousands of people to our campus each year for both education and enjoyment. I am very pleased that this funding will now allow the Museum to build on this excellent work and create new spaces which will help attract new audiences and offer an even greater range of thought-provoking exhibitions.” 

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund said: “The Courtyard Project will provide a fantastic resource for the people of Greater Manchester, and further afield. Manchester Museum is so much more than a university facility, being open and accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. The opportunity to showcase world-class heritage and culture outside of London is brilliant news for the region, and is something Heritage Lottery Fund is proud to be able to support.”

The Museum will remain open and further details are to come.