Thackray receives Heritage Emergency Fund grant to safeguard museum upon reopening

Thackray Museum of Medicine, the UK’s largest independent medical museum, has secured £150,600.00 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support operations in the first six months of reopening.

After closing in May 2019, the museum embarked on a large-scale redevelopment project, the biggest since its opening in 1997. With 11 new galleries, a new café and shop, the refurbishment is set to tell the story of medicine – a subject which could not be more relevant at this time in our lives – in new and dynamic ways.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began (and subsequently, a nationwide lockdown), the museum had been closed for nearly a year and was set to reopen in July 2020. Due to lockdown, project operations ceased, progress halted, and the museum was forced to extend the length of closure and schedule a new reopening date for autumn 2020.

Now, thanks to National Lottery players, Thackray Museum of Medicine can move forward with plans to reopen safely, with the funding allowing the museum to comply with health and safety measures relating to coronavirus while investing in its visitor services teams and operations.

Nat Edwards, Chief Executive at Thackray Museum of Medicine said:

“Right now, we need museums like the Thackray more than ever – as places for communities to reconnect after the lockdown and to help people make sense of the pandemic. Our museum is all about what happens when ordinary people get together to achieve extraordinary things and we are enormously indebted to National Lottery players for helping to make sure we can open the doors of our brilliant new displays. Together, we can inspire the next generation to meet the big healthcare and medical challenges that we know are on the way.”

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Thackray Museum of Medicine during this uncertain time.”

Thackray Museum of Medicine is set to reopen in autumn 2020 with a reopening date to be released on the museum’s social media channels, website, and dedicated newsletter very soon.


Notes to editors

For further information about Thackray Museum’s reopening, images and interview opportunities, please contact:

Laura Saxon

[email protected]


About Thackray Museum of Medicine

Formerly the Leeds Union Workhouse, Thackray Museum of Medicine is now one of the UK’s largest medical museums and the only one of its kind in the north of England, welcoming over one million visitors. Twenty years after opening, the museum is set reopen this autumn after a £4m capital development to realign the museum’s offer with visitor expectations, creating a venue for discovery and debate, designed for, and with, a diverse 21st century audience. As a registered charity, the museum’s continued success relies on the generosity and support of trusts, individuals and corporate sponsors, Friends and Members, fundraising activities, admission fees, and the support of the Thackray Medical Research Trust. It is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Twitter: @thackraymuseum Facebook: Instagram: