Torquay Museum receives lifeline grant

Torquay Museum Staff Outside the Museum
(Last Updated On: October 19, 2020)

Torquay Museum has been awarded £120,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.

The Museum is one 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. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

“Like many other museums we have endured financial hardship during this very difficult year,” explains Basil Greenwood, Torquay Museum’s Director. “We have done remarkably well in attracting back visitors since we re-opened to the public in July, but we are very heavily reliant upon income from visitors in order to keep the doors open and care for our amazing collections. That income has fallen significantly, making the Museum’s position very precarious.”

“This vital grant of £120,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund will help us to not only keep the doors open, but allow us to deliver some great new exhibitions and further strengthen our links with the local community, including new education outreach sessions.”

This year Torquay Museum celebrates 175 years since its foundation. As the oldest museum in Devon, with extraordinary and internationally important objects in its care, there is plenty to celebrate. The Museum is home to around 330,000 amazing artefacts. It houses Britain’s only Agatha Christie gallery, dedicated to the life story of the Queen of Crime, and North West Europe’s oldest modern human fossil from nearby Kent’s Cavern, along with an internationally important prehistoric cave collection. Its Explorers Gallery follows the incredible journeys made by Torquay’s famous explorers, from the frozen wastes of the Antarctic to the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, showcasing the fascinating artefacts they collected during their travels across the globe.

“Torquay Museum is the cultural heart of Torbay and is a vital part of the local community,” said Basil Greenwood. “It’s enjoyed by thousands of school children each year, who find its collections an invaluable aid to learning. The Museum is visited by a diverse array of local people and holidaymakers, who enjoy its fascinating, interactive galleries and wide variety of temporary exhibitions and events. It has a vibrant and friendly Museum Society, which organises around 40 talks per year on a bewildering variety of subjects. The Museum is also a vital resource for vulnerable and disabled groups, who benefit from an accessible and wheelchair friendly environment.”

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. These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

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. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

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