Funding Award from the DCMS

7th December 2022

  • 33 museums and galleries across England are set to receive a share of £4 million from DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund
  • Funding will help make museums more accessible through initiatives like building ramps and improving displays
  • Particular focus on helping organisations to be more sustainable and adopt energy saving measures

Experience Barnsley Museum has secured funding of £37,500 from the Wolfson Foundation to transform underused spaces in the Gallery and display new or previously unseen collections co-curated with communities.

The cash boost is from the joint DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. The fund aims to help museums and galleries make their collections as accessible to the public as possible, whether that be through building accessible ramps and facilities, improving collection storage to protect them for the future or getting more of their collections out on display.

The project ‘Barnsley’s Chamber of Treasures’ will greatly enhance the Museum spaces for visitors and enable the team to work more closely with local communities, creating displays which represent even more of the borough’s social history. The displays will be designed with reference to the early ‘cabinet of curiosity’ museums but using contemporary and historical social history to tell local stories. The project, thought to be the first of its kind in the area, is an opportunity to showcase more of Experience Barnsley’s collections in new and exciting ways.

Another important part of the project is to improve access and interpretation for people with disabilities, including an object handling area to enhance the overall visitor experience.

Work will begin with community groups in 2023, collaboratively and creatively developing new ways to tell the story of the borough’s history through the objects that mean the most to them. 

Physical changes to the Museum and installation will be completed in early 2024.

The project is also supported by additional funding from Arts Council England and Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust.

Councillor Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said:

“Working with local communities is extremely important to Experience Barnsley.  A museum created through the generosity of local people, it tells the story of the borough through their donations and is based very much on collaboration.  This new space will allow them to go one step further and co-curate a space, led by the people of Barnsley, based on what they feel is important to represent in the Museum.  We are excited to see how the project develops and how it will already enhance our already brilliant town centre museum.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

“The DCMS/Wolfson Fund aims to make sure more people can access our brilliant museums and galleries right across the county. Thanks to this combination of public funding and private philanthropy, these awards will help people who may have previously found visiting museums and galleries difficult and make sure everyone can enjoy and engage with the wonderful collections and exhibitions they offer. With 80 percent of the money going to museums outside the capital, this funding is further evidence of the Government’s commitment to levelling up and widening access to culture.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said:

“We’re delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with DCMS, which has now awarded over £50 million to outstanding museums and galleries over the past two decades. While the projects funded are many and varied, they will all improve access to the treasures of our museums and galleries – allowing more people to enjoy and learn from these impressive collections, as well as safeguarding them for the future.”

For more information about Experience Barnsley visit our website

Funding Award from the DCMS