Lottery cash will enable a museum to use its extensive collections to teach tomorrow's heritage experts.
The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, has been awarded £454,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund under its Skills for the Future programme.
It will fund the Conservation in Action project, which aims to use the museum’s nationally important collections and conservation team to offer year-long paid internships over a five-year period, beginning this summer.
The project will give graduates the opportunity to learn on the job, bridging the gap between academic training and practical skills.
The goal is to provide interns with training programmes tailored to address specific skills gaps in the sector while ensuring they receive a fully rounded museum experience.
The project will cover aspects such as surveying, preventative conservation, staging of temporary exhibitions, supervision of volunteers and interaction with other museums.
In addition to the training opportunities, the project will improve the museum’s care of its collections, enable stored items to be put on display and make conservation activity more visible to visitors.
The museum’s collections – awarded Designated status from the Government for their quality – span the 14th to the 20th Centuries and include paintings, ceramics, textiles and furniture.
They are enhanced by an exhibition programme, plus a lifelong learning programme which includes family activities, lectures and a schools programme involving visits to the museum and outreach work.
Jon Old, museum conservation manager, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has seen fit to award us this magnificent sum.
“This project will assist the museum by allowing us to use our collections more extensively and further develop our recent progress in conservation.
“It will also offer one of the best opportunities available for conservation graduates to gain hands-on experience of working in a museum environment while gaining key skills in their sector.”