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Cash award for museum’s Egyptian gallery plans

Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE EGYPTIAN gallery at Leicester’s New Walk Museum could be transformed in time for Easter 2018, thanks to an award of £145,000 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Wolfson Foundation.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock confirmed the award in an announcement today (17 January).

Leicester City Council’s successful bid for the cash means that proposals to revamp the gallery – which has not been refurbished since it opened in 1994 – can now be worked up. 

Assistant city mayor for culture Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “We are very grateful to the DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation for this generous award.

“Our Egyptian gallery is extremely popular, particularly with schools across the region, but it’s now looking tired and in need of an upgrade.

“This investment will allow us to update our interpretation of this most fascinating of ancient civilisations – and incorporate new ideas and activities into the gallery that will create an even better experience for everyone.

“Now that this award has been confirmed, we will be able to work up our ideas, with a view to releasing details of our proposals later this year.”

Support for 39 museums and galleries was announced today, with the DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund allocating grants totalling £4million.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said: “Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions.

"We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.

“I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.”

Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said: "This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding.

“The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections. From Egyptian mummies in Leicester to a Roman fort on Tyneside, this is a gloriously diverse set of projects - but all demonstrate excellence and all will improve the visitor experience.”

The Egyptian gallery at New Walk Museum houses the most significant collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts in the East Midlands. The collection includes finds from archaeological excavations carried out in the very early 20th century, as well as mummies sent to Leicester from Egypt by John Mason Cook – the son of the travel pioneer Thomas Cook.

The DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund supported the creation of new medieval galleries at Leicester’s Guildhall in 2014, as well as the major refurbishment of New Walk Museum’s famous dinosaur gallery in 2011.