£250k to lend national treasures

The loan programme that helps museums around the country borrow objects and works of art from national collections is open for bids for next year.

The loan programme, worth £250,000 for 2020, was created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Art Fund and is a funding and training scheme and enters its third of three seasons, with up to 50 museums and galleries expected to benefit.

Twenty-six museum and galleries and 123 curators have already benefitted in the programme’s first two years with a range of exhibitions opening throughout 2018 and 2019. This year it has included JMW Turner’s landscape masterpieces which are touring museums in the North of England, Wakefield Museum hosting ancient Egyptian mummies and artefacts from the British Museum and George Stubbs’ iconic equine portrait Whistlejacket (pictured] travelling from the National Gallery to Milton Keynes in October.

The programme is the only one of its kind, devised to increase access around the UK to national treasures. In its first year, 2018, Rugby Museum and Art Gallery saw a 70% increase in attendance for their exhibition About Facewhich featured artists’ portraits borrowed from the National Portrait Gallery, and Manor House Museum in Kettering attributed a 100% increase in monthly visitors year on year to its exhibition of treasures from the British Museum; Cannon Hall Museum in Kettering saw a 30% increase in visitor numbers during its exhibition of objects from the British Museum in Autumn 2018.

The scheme, which also aims to strengthen the skills of up to 100 regional museum professionals, is open for applications of between £5,000 and £25,000 via artfund.org/weston-loan-programmeuntil September 10.

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