Major redevelopments at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Imperial War Museum London, the Tank Museum in Dorset and the Design Museum look certain to be realised after receiving a total of £16 million.
The round of awards, announced by Heritage Lottery Fund organisers with the aim of giving “new insights and inspirations” to millions of visitors, aims to galvanise the draw of museums during a “momentous” Olympic year.
The Design Museum’s move to its vastly expanded home at the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, where it will neighbour the likes of the Science Museum and the Serpentine Gallery, will be supported to the tune of £4.7 million.
Conservation of the Grade II-listed Institute – an important 1960s building which is considered at-risk – will allow it to be used permanently for the first time since 2004.
© John Pawson Ltd. Image: Alex Morris Visualisation
At the Imperial War Museum, a £4.5 million set of “groundbreaking” First World War Galleries will be created, teeming with original artefacts from soldiers.
The galleries will be central to the museum’s First World War Centenary programme between 2014 and 2018, as well as marking the 100th anniversary of the venue being opened in 1917.
The Tank Museum, in Bovington, holds an unrivalled collection of armoured vehicles. More than 100 of them will go under cover for the first time through a £2.5 million grant, meaning that the entire museum collection will be indoors for the first time, protected by a new Vehicle Conservation Centre and honoured by two new exhibitions featuring those who engineered the tanks and took part in the First World War.
The V&A will receive £4.3 million for a two-year project. The space for the Europe 1600-1800 collections, which include ceramics, furniture, textiles and fashion, will be “dramatically improved”, returning the galleries to their original Victorian Aston Webb design and accommodating a number of objects permanently for the first time.
“This is a momentous year,” said Carole Souter, of the Fund.
“Huge numbers of tourists will be coming to these shores, and our world-class museums continue to be a particularly popular draw.
“The projects announced today will explore everything from First World War memories to the history of modern design, giving new insights and inspiration to the millions of people who visit every year.”
Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, said he was “delighted” that “such a wide variety of institutions” would benefit.
“Our museums are among the finest in the world and the HLF’s support of our dynamic cultural sector plays an important role in helping our arts bodies thrive, flourish and maintain their first-class reputations,” he added.
Castle Drogo, a granite country house built in Exeter more than a century ago, will also earn £2.5 million towards efforts to secure £11 million in restoration funding.