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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Funding boost for museums
Bowes Museum
Bowes Museum received one of the grants
The UK's top non-national museums and galleries have received a multi-million pound boost from the government.

Grants totally 5.2m have been awarded to 49 institutions across the country, Arts Minister Tessa Blackstone announced on Wednesday.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said the extra money will widen access to culture and create an "avalanche of art".

The move follows last week's pledge from Chancellor Gordon Brown to give an extra 75m to the arts by 2005/2006.

Mr Brown vowed to maintain free access to national museums in the government's comprehensive spending review.

Non-national winners

Non-national museums to benefit from the new grants include the Bowes Museum in County Durham (222,000), Norfolk Museum (250,000), the Tank Museum in Bovington (135,000) and the Museum of British Road Transport in Coventry (145,000).

The money will support projects running to the end of March, 2004.

Announcing the new grants - under the government's Designated Museum Challenge Fund - Tessa Blackstone said: "Our museums - and the designated collections, in particular - are among the best in the world.

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown has already promised an extra 75m to the arts
"We are right to be proud of them, and right to do everything we can to make them as open and accessible as possible.

"These grants will benefit those museums who have put forward imaginative and innovative schemes to boost access."

The fund was created in 1999 to promote collections of national and international importance, and has awarded around 15m.

Matthew Evans, resource chairman at the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries said with the awards museums and galleries would be able to extend access to their designated collections.

"Existing users and new audiences can fully benefit from the wealth of collections, expertise and information they hold," he said.

See also:

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