Thackray Museum of Medicine receives lifeline grant from Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

Thackray Museum of Medicine, the UK’s largest independent medical museum, has been awarded £373,281 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

Thackray Museum of Medicine is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

After closing in May 2019, the museum set to embark 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 the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, 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 operations and increasing its financial resilience.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

Nat Edwards, Chief Executive at Thackray Museum of Medicine said: “This couldn’t have come at a better time. The Government’s Culture Recovery Fund has helped give our museum a more secure future, meaning we can inspire the next generation of big thinkers and informed citizens who will tackle the health crises to come – armed with the long view that only museums like ours can provide. Our mission is so important and we’re enormously grateful that the Government is supporting us.”





Notes to editors:

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at


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




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

Laura Saxon

[email protected]