£5m refurbishment of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is announced

Electrical upgrade will enhance customer experience says city council

<p>Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.</p>

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will benefit to the tune of almost £5m in improvements thanks to Government funding.

Birmingham City Council has been awarded the figure as part of nearly £50m of funding being given to galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country.

The money is being provided to enhance the public’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

In Birmingham, the city council has been awarded a grant of £4,998,820 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England.

A statement on the council’s website revealed the funding will be used to address specific works as part of a wider electrical upgrade and refurbishment of the city’s flagship museum in the city centre.

The grant will allow Birmingham Museums to continue much-needed infrastructure works at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which, in turn, will improve conditions for both the collection stored there and for visitors.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

What will the money be used for?

Works will include repairs to the fabric of the building, upgrading heating, improving physical access and protecting collections in transit with the replacement of lifts.

Councillor Jayne Francis, the city’s council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “It is of paramount importance that we do everything we can to protect our historical buildings, as well as the cultural works contained therein.

“There’s a great deal of work going on at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery but it will be worth the investment so that everyone is able to enjoy this gorgeous building in all its glory and ensure preservation for the future.”

Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah, co-CEOs of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “We are passionate about caring for our collections and stories.

“Our buildings are as much a part of the experience as any object and this fund will provide a much-welcomed opportunity to address some long-standing concerns at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, which will ultimately improve the visitor experience and safeguard the collection for generations to come.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“We are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level-up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy."

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (right) in Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, circa 1900. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play.

“This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”

The Cultural Investment Fund means £48m will be distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams - £24m through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8m through the Museums Estate and Development Fund and £5m through the Libraries Improvement Fund.

What’s the latest regarding reopening of the venue?

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is currently closed whilst the electrical upgrading takes place. It is due to partially reopen on Thursday, April 28. For the latest news, visit https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/

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