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Thursday, October 22, 1998 Published at 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK


£7m donated to museum education centres

Impression of the Tate's new Bankside gallery - getting £2.5m

Museums in London are being given donations of £7m to establish education centres.

The main beneficiaries are the British Museum, the Tate Gallery of Modern Art and The Natural History Museum.

The money is coming from the Clore Foundation and associated Vivien Duffield Foundation, which are providing a further £1m, also for education, at regional museums and galleries.

[ image: The British Museum also gets £2.5m]
The British Museum also gets £2.5m
The new Clore Centre for Education at the British Museum will be part of the ongoing Great Court Project due to be completed in November 2000.

There will be two auditoriums and a centre for young visitors, and activity spaces including an artists' room and an information technology centre.

There is already a Clore Gallery at the Tate in London - housing its Turner collection. The Tate's new modern art gallery is due to open at Bankside on the River Thames in the spring of 2000.

The Clore Centre there will have areas for families and school groups and a resource room for people doing their own study.

[ image: Nicholas Serota:
Nicholas Serota: "Exciting"
The Tate's Director, Nicholas Serota, is delighted to be getting a donation of £2.5m.

"People across the world are already talking about the new Tate gallery at Bankside and they have very high expectations that we will offer great art, fantastic services and a very very full education programme," he said.

"We should be able to do that in a very exciting way."

The centre at The Natural History Museum, which is getting £1m, will open late next year and involves a redevelopment of existing facilities, with the emphasis on interactive science education.

Some of the money will also be used for wider education activities and to provide greater access to the museum's collections through its Website.

[ image: Dr Chalmers: Web boost]
Dr Chalmers: Web boost
"Schoolchildren will go into a brand new centre where there will be masses of hands-on objects for them to interact with, to explore, to get explanations about," said the museum's Director, Dr Neil Chalmers.

"They will have a whole series of workstations where they can work on projects with their teachers, with their classes.

"There will be material on computers which can help them understand more about the natural world, and a lot of that will be networked around the country as well through our Website."

Regional museums and galleries will be able to bid for grants of between £2,000 and £25,000 over five years to support education work.

[ image: Vivien Duffield: Plugging public funding gaps]
Vivien Duffield: Plugging public funding gaps
"I do believe generally that we fulfil, with donations like this, a role that possibly the government would not be able to fulfil," said Vivien Duffield.

"It is the role of foundations to fill in the cracks in between the bricks."

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said the donations were "vital" in bringing the museums' treasures to a wider public.

The Clore Foundation is chaired by Vivien Duffield, who took over on the death of her father, Sir Charles Clore - former owner of Sears, Selfridges, William Hill and various chains of shoe shops. She set up the foundation that bears her name to continue the family's philanthropic work.

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