Arts Council England awards TWAM £35,000 to support Designated collections

17 December 2019

"It will reveal the story of George Stewardson Brady to our audiences through extensive public engagement activities and a commissioned digital artwork."

Exterior view of the Great North Museum, Newcastle, on a fine summer dayImage: The Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle upon Tyne

Arts Council England has announced three museums and libraries across the North East who will receive a share of £203,780 for the period 2019-2022 in the third round of the Designation Development Fund, supported by the National Lottery.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums in Newcastle, Vindolanda Trust in Hexham and Durham University are among the 28 successful collections from across the country to be awarded Designation Development funding.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums has been awarded £35,000 for its ‘Broadcasting the Brady collection’ project which will support the sustainability of the  marine invertebrates records at the Great North Museum: Hancock. It will improve documentation, increase accessibility and raise research potential through online portals. It will also raise the profile of the work of George Stewardson Brady and highlight the contribution of historic data to contemporary environmental research and debate.

Caroline McDonald, Museum Manager at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:

"We are very grateful to receive £35,000 from Arts Council England’s Designation Development Fund to help us realise our ‘Broadcasting the Brady Collection’ project.

"By improving documentation and improving research access to this internationally important marine invertebrates collection we will be able to demonstrate how historic museum collections actively support current environmental research and remain relevant to debates about the state of our oceans.

"It will also reveal the story of George Stewardson Brady – a true local science hero – to our audiences through extensive public engagement activities and a commissioned digital artwork."

The Vindolanda Trust will receive £82,980 for their Digitising Vindolanda’s Wooden Collection project which will allow the Trust the additional capacity to advance the cataloguing of their unique Roman wooden collection. This will make the collection accessible for on-going research and strengthen relations with supportive academic partners.

Durham University is one of the first library collections to receive investment from this fund. It has been awarded £85,880 to support their project which sets to answer the question What is the relevance of historic libraries in the 21st century? The project aims to unlock and develop the research potential of Cosin’s Library, the earliest public library in the North East of England, and to create a deeper and richer experience of the collection and the building it is housed in for local audiences and visitors. The goal of the project is to use the historic library to celebrate the tradition of public libraries and their value in the past and in the future.

Recognising the importance of maintaining excellent collections across the country, the Designation Development Fund supports projects to ensure their long-term sustainability, maximise public value and encourage the sharing of best practice across the sector. This round was open to Designated library collections for the first time, with four such collections successfully applying for funding.

The Designation Development Fund provides funding for organisations already recognised by the Designation Scheme, which champions national and internationally significant collections held in museums, libraries and archives.

Individual grants were available for between £20,000 and £90,000 – download details of all the awards made in this round here.