All three museum applicants were winners at the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) twice yearly meeting to decide on major projects, on 19 July. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) received approval for a £9.75m award towards the £30m required for its Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, which are due to open in 2009. Already £5m has been promised from other donors, so the V&A is now half way there, and with Lottery support it will be easier to attract private donors. The re-display will be in refurbished galleries on the Cromwell Road side of the building.
The Museum of London is to get £10.6m towards an £18m project to transform the lower floor galleries, which cover the period from the Great Fire of 1666 to the present. Museum director Jack Lohman stresses that the Capital City scheme is “about Londoners’ stories and displaying more of our collections rather than an ambitious building scheme.” HLF chairperson Liz Forgan pointed that “this investment will help guarantee that visitors will be offered the finest museum experience as part of their 2012 Olympic visits”. The new galleries open in 2009.
The National Museums of Scotland received approval for a £15.8m grant (and a development grant of £1m) for the Royal Museum. This is towards an ambitious £44.5m scheme to transform the Edinburgh museum. The refurbishments will be completed in 2011.
Two other arts projects have also received awards from other sources. Arts Council England is providing a £5m Lottery grant for the University of Southampton’s John Hansard Gallery, which displays contemporary art. The new gallery, in the city centre, is due to open in 2008.
In Northern Ireland, minister for culture, arts and leisure David Hanson has announced that £7m will be provided for a major renewal of the Ulster Museum. The HLF had already earmarked £4.7m towards the £12m project. Upgrading the museum building is scheduled for completion in late 2008.
• Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper with the headline "Three times lucky"