Six-figure funding boost for Peterborough museum

Peterborough Museum on Priestgate in the city centre. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough Telegraph
Peterborough Museum on Priestgate in the city centre. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough Telegraph
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A six-figure funding boost has been delivered to Peterborough Museum which will enhance the way it re-lives the city’s history.

The museum in Priestgate, run by culture trust Vivacity, is receiving £152,560 to create ‘a new business model.’

The money is part of a £17.5 million fund from the Arts Council England’s ‘Museums Resilience fund’ being handed out across the country.

The decision was announced on Monday (March 2) and the money will be used to transform the museum’s historic cellars underneath the building.

The cellar rooms are currently unused aside from storage and include remnants of the original building dating to 1536 as well as the Georgian wine cellar and the air raid shelter used during World War II.

The redevelopment will restore many of these spaces to help enhance visitors’ understanding of the museum building itself.

The space will also provide an additional resource for the thousands of schoolchildren who visit the museum each year.

In addition, the funding will enable young people in Peterborough to get the opportunity to gain experience of the museum sector through internships.

Work will begin on the new project in April with the cellars due to be opened to the public by the end of 2015.

The news follows the announcement a week earlier that the Heritage Festival will continue for another three years thanks to sponsorship from local company Perkins Engines Company Limited.

This is very welcome news for the city and Vivacity.

Kevin Tighe

Kevin Tighe, chief executive of Vivacity, said: “This is very welcome news for the city and Vivacity. 

“Our heritage staff always work hard and this has been rewarded with a fantastic sponsorship agreement from Perkins and now this injection of money from the Arts Council England.

“As always we will use it wisely to create wonderful experiences in Peterborough.”

Historian Stuart Orme said the museum and its cellars had a remarkable history having also previously been a Tudor house and Victorian hspital.

He added: “I’m delighted by the news. Children doing World War Two sessions will be able to experience an air raid shelter and what it would have been like when a bomb fell outside.

“This will form part of the ghost tour and also daily guided tours.”

Cambridgeshire County Council have also received £90,000 of funding.

Beneficiaries of this include: Chatteris Museum, March and District Museum, Ramsey Rural Museum, Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Whittlesey Museum and Nene Valley Railway.

Arts Council England, which distributes government funding, recently published research which said the museum sector contributes £1.45 billion to the national economy.

Hedley Swain, Arts Council England area director for the South East, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery and many more museums through Cambridgeshire County Council with funding from the Museum Resilience fund.

“The investment will help support the development and resilience of all these museums, ensuring that audiences can continue to enjoy all that they have to offer.”