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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Richmond visitor attractions get cash vote of confidence

Uniform success: Green Howards museum
director Lynda Powell in the costume store
with a rare 18th century militia uniform.
Two Richmond visitor attractions are in line for more than £100,000 Arts Council funding.

The Green Howards Museum and The Georgian Theatre Royal will benefit from the second round of the the council's Museum Resilience Fund, which has seen £12m donated to 94 museums and organisations across the country.

The theatre has received £38,630 to fund a post to support its Georgian Theatre Experience while the museum will use its £65,304 to develop the way it manages its extensive collection of uniforms. Some collection pieces are rare and include a complete soldier’s uniform worn during the Crimean War.

Green Howards museum director Lynda Powell, who oversaw a £1.7m lottery funded redevelopment of the building two years ago, said: “Receiving this funding enables us to launch a really exciting project over the next two years, with the collection at its core,

“We are always looking for ways to grow, and open up our collection to museum visitors as well as individuals with specific interests.

"We have more than 2000 uniforms. It is impossible to display them all, but they form an incredibly important part of our archive.

"This grant will allow us to create an improved uniform storage and display system, as well as paying for specialist training for staff, and the creation of a new collections assistant post within the museum team.”

The Arts Council England funding will also enable the museum to create an online catalogue of key pieces from the collection. Uniforms will be mounted then photographed through a 360 degree rotation. It means that even if these precious items are not on display in the museum itself, they are still accessible to anyone who wants to find out more about them.

Lynda added: “The quality of our uniform collection is well known within military and specialist circles.  There’s less awareness in other sectors – but no reason for that to continue to be the case,

“Using this funding to improve the way we store, display and work with the uniforms in our care allows us more opportunities to bring them to a much wider audience in the future.”

Last month The Georgian Theatre Royal – which occupies an important place in theatre history as Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form – launched its new heritage attraction The Georgian Theatre Experience. This includes a redeveloped exhibition area and a state-of-the-art education and learning centre funded jointly by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a legacy from former associate director Paul Iles to a total of £500,000.

Guided tours of the auditorium and a new exhibition area form
part of the Georgian Theatre Experience.
The Georgian Theatre Experience includes a guided tour of the auditorium, dressing rooms and stage as well as entry to the exhibition area.

Chief executive Clare Allen said: “We are delighted to receive this funding, which is a tremendous vote of confidence from Arts Council England for our new heritage attraction.

“Even before the redevelopment work, the Georgian Theatre tours and museum were consistently ranked at the top of the ‘things to do in Richmond’ on Trip Advisor and all our feedback shows that people love to visit the Theatre and find out more about its fascinating history.

"We now want to attract even greater numbers and ensure that visitors continue to have an enjoyable, memorable and informative experience of this wonderful living theatre museum,”

Director of Museums at Arts Council England John Orna-Ornstein, said: “The focus of our investment approach for museums in 2015-18 is on building a more resilient sector. The Museum Resilience Fund is a key part of that, providing vital support to museums right across the country.”

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