Powell-Cotton Museum receives £1.1m grant to carry out vital building repairs

The Powell-Cotton Museum in Birchington

The Powell-Cotton Museum in Birchington has been awarded a grant of £1.1 million which will be used to replace the roof and address maintenance backlogs within the museum.

The funding comes from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport MEND fund and is administered by Arts Council England.

Powell-Cotton staff say the significant investment will ensure the preservation and upkeep of the museum’s historical artifacts for future generations to enjoy.

The conditions inside of the museum are not suitable for long term storage of collections due to constant leaks and water intrusion. Since 2021, the museum team has struggled with a collections care crisis.

Part of the stored collections have been moved to an alternative storage at high cost. The roof has been patch-repaired for many years, but it has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.

Visitors will have seen taxidermy specimens wearing plastic sheets as ‘raincoats’ and items removed from display in order to protect them.

All efforts will be made to keep the museum as open to the public as possible throughout the works but this will be dependent on variables outside of the museum’s control. The museum will continue to share information about the project through its website, social channels and news outlets as the works progress.

Access to Quex House and Gardens is anticipated to continue as normally as possible.

Nigel Lewis, CEO, Powell-Cotton Museum said: “This grant will allow us to replace the old leaking roof on the museum building which will protect and preserve the collection for decades to come.

“Whilst there will be some disruption during the works this year and next year, we will endeavour to ensure as much of the museum remains open and that our visitors continue to have a great experience.

“We are so grateful and excited to receive this funding from Arts Council England.”

Powell Cotton Museum

Clare Valentine, Chair of Trustees, Powell-Cotton Trust, added: “This grant from Arts Council England is so significant and transformational for the Powell- Cotton Museum. For years we have struggled to halt the water ingress into the building which creates damp and wet conditions, damaging the artifacts and displays due to the water, associated damp and mould.

“Replacing the complete museum roof will dramatically improve the conditions within the museum and allow us to repair the internal damaged caused by the leaks and in so doing improve the visitor experience.”

Works are scheduled to begin on site during this summer with a winter break before continuing into Spring 2025.

The Museum has thanked the project team including MacConvilles Chartered Surveyors, Lee Evans Partnership Architects and Caroline Taylor Consulting.

8 Comments

  1. “Access to Quex House and Gardens is anticipated to continue as normally as possible.”… and there lies part of the problem. At one time, the gardens were open to those who bought a season ticket, raising much-needed funds AND allowing access to something that is now almost always closed. Why not do this again?

  2. Any connection with the previous article on the Museums “decolonisation” a while back and the grant? A case of toe the line or go without?

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