Funding Boost for Museum Building Improvements

Leicester Museums & Galleries has been awarded a cash boost from the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) to help with essential building improvements.

Published: 28 March 2022

The grant has been awarded to Leicester Museum & Art Gallery to maintain some of the gallery roofs and to upgrade the air handling equipment on site to help protect the building from the elements and to improve the environmental conditions in the galleries.

Historically the Victorian and Edwardian building methods have caused water ingress, solar gain and air circulation issues, requiring portable plant and physical interventions on gallery to manage lux, temperature, and humidity levels. The MEND Fund project will address these issues, improving the visitor experience, maintaining contemporary collection care standards, reducing preventative maintenance programme costs, and future conservation maintenance costs.

Specifically, the funding will be used to:

  • upgrade and improve the air conditioning and air circulation equipment in the museum basement plant rooms
  • to upgrade the roof lanterns and glazed ceilings above the old Ancient Egypt gallery on the ground floor, the Council Meeting Room, the Picasso Gallery and the Arts & Crafts Gallery
  • to conserve and repair the sawtooth glazed and cast iron roof above Wild Space and the Den.

These works will also remove the internal suspended ceilings, exposing the beautiful internal architectural features to visitors for the first time in decades. The project will also improve the maintenance access routes to the roofs, which have made maintaining the Victorian buildings exceptionally costly in the past. This grant will make them safe, secure and weatherproof for many years.

“This much-needed funding will support vital maintenance to the historic roof lanterns, glazing and guttering above five of the main galleries at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery, along with other essential maintenance work, applying for this funding is a highly competitive process, so I'd like to thank our staff for putting together this successful bid and securing these funds – and I'm obviously very grateful to Arts Council England for their continued support. The MEND Fund will make a huge contribution to ensuring the city’s flagship museum and gallery is here for the next 170 years."
Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Leicester’s Deputy City Mayor.

The successful application to the MEND Fund means Leicester Museums & Galleries will receive a grant of £766,450 towards a project total of £958,062, with match funding from Leicester City Council’s Corporate Property Improvement Programme budget of £191,612.

The Museum Estate and Development Fund is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Arts Council England, Historic England and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Grants are administered, awarded and monitored by Arts Council England.

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