Oxford University’s museums to receive £640k from second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund  

Four University museums – Ashmolean Museum, History of Science Museum, Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum – to benefit from grant to aid recovery

Oxford University has received a grant of £639,999 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. The grant will support four museums: The Ashmolean Museum, History of Science Museum, Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Oxford University in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

The grant will be used to support the reopening of the four museums later in the spring. The funding will allow the museums to develop commercial activities to help strengthen their financial resilience. It will also be used by the University’s museums to grow their digital capacity and infrastructure to meet the changing needs of audiences.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead. 

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.  Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead."

Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, said: “On behalf of all Oxford University’s museums, we are extremely grateful to the Government and to Arts Council England for their support. The grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund will make a significant difference to our work. It will allow us to invest in areas that are important for our audiences and communities and to develop our commercial capacity as we emerge from the pandemic. The last year has been challenging for so many cultural institutions but these funds will help us to move forward with optimism.”  

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, said: “Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.