MUSEUMS and galleries across south Shropshire can bid for a share of £4 million in new funding to the Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund to level up access to arts and culture.

The cash boost will support the improvement of displays, protect collections, and make museums and galleries more accessible to visitors, helping to increase opportunities to participate in and enjoy culture across the country.

The opportunity for additional funding follows recent news of a £1m grant award to Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, one of sixty organisations to receive funding through the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund, which will enable the Trust to carry out vital infrastructure and essential maintenance work at Blists Hill Victorian Town.

The Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are contributing extra funding to the Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund to mark 20 years of the two organisations supporting arts and cultural organisations.

Over the last 20 years the Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund has supported 415 projects with £48 million in 350 museums in the UK.

Museums and galleries benefitting from the Fund’s investments have improved access for communities to their local history. Funding awarded has helped to increase opening hours and visitor numbers, so that more people can visit their collections and enjoy the national heritage.

“We have a national cultural heritage of which we can be proud, and every community should be able to visit and appreciate the collections on their doorstep,” said Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow.

“Shropshire is no exception, and I am delighted Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust received £1m through the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund, helping to protect this vital local cultural asset.”

“The Government’s extra funding, building on the £48 million that has already supported 415 projects, is a welcomed opportunity to widen access to the wonderful and historic collections in our museums and galleries and I urge organisations across south Shropshire to apply.”