Birmingham Museums Trust has received a grant of £820,841 from the second round of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund helping to ensure the independent charity has a sustainable future beyond the coronavirus pandemic. 

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Birmingham Museums Trust in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

The award will help offset the devastating financial impact of coronavirus closures which has cut off much of the Trust’s income. The financial support is vital in enabling the charity to continue to recover and the Trust can now focus on its plans for reopening Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.

Birmingham Museums is one of the largest independent museums trusts in the UK providing a wide range of educational and enjoyable cultural experiences, events and activities to visitors at nine venues across the city while also caring for the city’s collection of around 1 million objects.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead. 

Speaking about the Culture Recovery Fund announcement Sara Wajid and Zak Mensah, Co-CEOs of Birmingham Museums Trust said:

“Birmingham Museums Trust is delighted to secure this financial support from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. It is a vital lifeline that will form part of our recovery, helping ensure that Birmingham Museums will be here, now and in the future.

“Birmingham Museums impact extends beyond the West Midlands region welcoming over a million visitors each year and reaching many more audiences through its digital, learning and community programmes. The coronavirus crisis has changed many things and raised many questions. What remains constant is Birmingham Museums’ mission to ensure everyone in the region has the opportunity to experience Birmingham’s world class collections regardless of age, background or financial means.

“While the challenges of the pandemic are not over, we can now begin to put plans into action for reopening Thinktank Science Museum and Birmingham Museums’ historic properties.”

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Our record-breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said:

“Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. 

We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.