The Royal Museum of Scotland will improve its entrance as part of the redevelopment project. Courtesy Royal Museum of Scotland.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced £27.4m in funding for the Museum of London and Scotland’s Royal Museum.
Confirmed on July 21, the grants mean that both museums can undergo major redevelopment projects to improve their galleries and displays.
The Royal Museum, Edinburgh, will use the HLF’s award of £16.8m towards a four-year project that will reinvent the 19th-century museum, making it a worthy neighbour for the new Museum of Scotland.
Beginning in 2007, the project will aim to provide dynamic new exhibitions, innovative Discovery Zones and a redeveloped learning centre, plus improved access. Glass elevators and broadband internet will bring the museum into the 21st century.
The Time Walk - an object rich journey through the fashions and moods of the late 20th century - just one of the aspects of Capital Story. © Museum of London
“This is excellent news for Scotland and our country’s cultural history,” said Dr Brian Lang, Chair of the HLF Committee for Scotland. “New life will be breathed into this beautiful building and treasures that have been stored away for years can now be brought out for people to enjoy in a dynamic and contemporary setting.”
Further funding will now be sought to reach the £44.5m needed in total for the Royal Museum project.
The Museum of London is celebrating its windfall of £10.6m, which will enable it to begin on the Capital City project. The project will update the museum’s story of London, to reflect the multicultural community and the huge contribution made by people from around the globe to the city. New displays will look at the rich, the poor, those born in London and those who moved there: all who think of London as their home.
“It will equip the museum for the 21st century, making it an inspiring and exciting place for people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Floella Benjamin OBE, broadcaster, writer and museum supporter. “London is an amazing city and deserves an amazing museum to tell its story.”
An image of the Royal Museum inside as it will look after redevelopment. Courtesy Royal Museum of Scotland.
The lower floor galleries are to be completely transformed to engage visitors with the voice of the city. New displays will chronicle the diverse and stimulating story of London from the Great Fire of 1666 to the present, when the city emerged as a great metropolis.
A new Clore Learning Centre will also be developed, providing an e-learning suite, object handling areas and a state-of-the-art theatre. The museum is committed to placing learning at the heart of the scheme.
Jack Lohman, director of the museum, said: “It is tremendously exciting that HLF has supported our Capital City Project, which is rather different in that it is about Londoner’s stories and displaying more of our collections rather than an ambitious building scheme.”
“The project,” he continued, “will see this museum take a lead in promoting empathy and understanding between Londoners of different generations and cultural backgrounds. Visitors have repeatedly told us they want to contribute to London’s story and this will give them just that opportunity.”
Both the London and the Scotland projects should be finished in time for the 2012 Olympics.