Monday, 31 August 2009

Museum celebrates £150,000 grant success

Wiltshire Heritage Museum is celebrating an award of £150,000 to help create a new prehistory gallery at the museum.

The new gallery will feature Britain’s richest Bronze Age burial, found at Bush Barrow, near Stonehenge. The finds from the burial have been described by the Daily Mail as ‘Britain’s first Crown Jewels’ that once belonged to the ‘king of Stonehenge’. The gold finds will be on permanent display in Wiltshire for the first time in generations.

The Museum is home to the best Bronze Age collections in Britain, and the new displays will be at the heart of a revitalised museum, which will also feature a lift to enable access to all the museum displays. The new gallery will be developed in collaboration with the planned new Stonehenge Visitor Centre.

The award is of one of 34 Grants totalling £4 million from the DCMS / Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Scheme that will improve displays and facilities at 34 museums up and down the country. Culture Minister, Barbara Follett said, “We are fortunate to have so many excellent museums and galleries in this country, with fascinating collections and dedicated staff, providing a really great visitor experience for the public. These grants help ... good quality museum projects that will enhance displays and interpretation

Chairman Bill Perry said, “This substantial grant is a major step forward towards our goal of putting the gold objects from the Stonehenge Bush Barrow on permanent display and creating new galleries to display our important prehistoric collections. It is the first success in our fundraising campaign that we launched in May this year.”

Director, David Dawson said, “This is fantastic news for the Museum, our visitors and for Devizes. We are now working closely with English Heritage and Salisbury Museum on the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre, and our new displays will encourage thousands of people to discover Devizes”.

The Fundaising Campaign for the Museum was launched in May 2009 in a story carried by the Daily Mail and the Bush Barrow finds were featured in a BBC News report.

Find out more from the DCMS Press Release about the award.