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Manchester Museum and the Whitworth receive grants from Culture Recovery Fund

15 Oct 2020

Two of our leading cultural institutions, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth, have been awarded £240,580 and £428,233 respectively

The lifeline grants are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure a sustainable future, following announcement by the Culture Secretary yesterday. 

Manchester Museum and the Whitworth are two of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. 

As one of the UK’s leading university museums, Manchester Museum uses its extraordinary natural history and humanities collections to work with communities and partners locally, nationally and internationally in building understanding between cultures and a more sustainable world. The new funding awarded will be a catalyst in remobilising our commercial and retail arms; enable unprecedented collaboration with local communities as we work together in completing plans for a world-class new South Asia Gallery; reactivate the international tour of our stunning ‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’ exhibition; and develop a new, long-term business plan to help guarantee our sustainable future.

The Whitworth is one of the leading art galleries in the North, with an exhibition programme that encompasses the work of major contemporary artists, historic fine art, textiles, and those curated by our local communities. We are home to an internationally significant collection that is freely available to the public as well as academics from all over the world.  The pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on our commercial income and visitor donations.  Funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will be used to cover some of these losses and help us to deliver a programme, much of which is targeted at local diverse communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID.  In addition, in response to BLM, our staff will also be undertaking anti-racism training.  As our visitors start to return, the award will also help us to create a safe and welcoming environment and support our staff to develop new commercial income strategies to ensure our future sustainability. 

In true Manchester spirit, cultural organisations across the city are coming together in a spirit of co-operation. Funding received by both organisations will also enable participation in city-wide initiatives to support schools during the pandemic, and joint marketing campaigns to welcome visitors back safely to our wonderful cultural institutions. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery."

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: “Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences."

Esme Ward, Director of Manchester Museum and Alistair Hudson, Director of the Whitworth, said: “We are delighted, and exceptionally grateful, for this support. This funding will not only help Manchester Museum and the Whitworth get through the next few months, it will also enable us to build for the future.

"Having reopened our doors to the public on 16 September on a limited basis, funding announced now will play a vital role in getting many more activities up and running; allowing us to get back to doing more of what we do best, and with much greater stability to weather the future, long-term financial impacts of the pandemic."