The culture sector in the UK just got £250 million richer.
The UK’s culture secretary announced on Saturday the launch of a new development fund, which will allocate nearly £250 million (~$275 million) to cultural institutions, including libraries, museums, and “creative industries.” It is the government’s biggest-ever investment in the cultural sector.
Of the total sum, £150 million (~$165.5 million) alone will be earmarked for regional museums and libraries. (Between 2010 and 2018, over 1,000 libraries have shuttered across the UK.) Over £19 million (~$21 million) will go to the Culture Development Fund, an organization tasked with investing in heritage and culture projects to stimulate the local economy. £18.5 million (~$20.5 million) will slide straight into the pockets of York’s National Railway Museum.
“The disasters that have struck at the Glasgow School of Art, Notre Dame Cathedral and the National Museum of Brazil in the last two years have shown how fragile our precious museums buildings and collections are,” said the National Museum Association.
“Creative and cultural institutions are at the heart of our communities,” Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, said as part of the announcement.
Museums in the UK have reportedly been struggling to generate profit and cover the exorbitant costs of maintenance and development.
Sharon Heal, the director of the membership and advocacy group, UK Museums Association, told the Art Newspaper that, “Our members have told us about crumbling ceilings, leaking roofs and a lack of money to be able to carry out basic maintenance work.”
The development fund will be distributed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Arts Council England (ACE).