Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum awarded over half a million pounds to help safeguard its cultural heritage

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum has been awarded a grant of £518,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England.

This money will be used on a project to restore the original 1901 conservatory, replace the air-handling units and improve drainage.

This grant forms part of almost £50 million of funding awarded to galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country to improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is a Grade 2* listed Victorian villa housing an internationally important collection of Victorian fine and decorative art as well as objects from world cultures collected by the Russell-Cotes on their travels. It has been an important part of Bournemouth’s heritage since it opened as an art gallery and museum in 1922, 100 years ago this month, welcoming 50,000 visitors per year and offering a vibrant programme of activities and exhibitions.

This grant will fund necessary repair works to both the conservatory roof and floor, drainage improvements and replace end of life air handling units including heating circuits.

This project will deliver vital improvement to safeguard the fabric of the building, which is in an exposed location on the cliff top and make the museum more financially and organisationally resilient by eliminating the need for emergency interventions and reduce energy consumption.

Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Chair of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum said: “Success in being awarded this grant reinforces the national importance of the Russell-Cotes. It is an extraordinary building with extravagant interiors as well as a an internationally important art collection. Moreover, it is the combination of the two which make this institution unique and deserving of this very significant investment by the Arts Council.”

The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund, £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund, and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund. The announcement follows a concerted effort by the government to support the country’s vital cultural organisations.

The Museum Estate and Development Fund helps fund museum and local authority infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance works beyond their day-to-day budgets.