The Epping Forest District Museum has received initial funding of £27,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop its ‘Museum at the Core’ project before applying for a full grant later this year.
This first round* grant will help the museum to plan ideas for extending the exhibition space, creating new open access storage facilities and providing a community learning space. The whole project sets out to realise the potential of Epping Forest District Museum, increase visitor numbers and improve displays. In addition, the museum wants to encourage more people to get involved through volunteering and greater use of museum objects. Other ideas for development include new terminals in the galleries and a lift to increase the number of visitors able to access the exhibits on the upper floors.
The museum tells the story of the Epping Forest district and this project will allow even more reserve collections to be brought on site and displayed in the open storage areas. There are approximately 100,000 items in the museum’s remarkable collection that illustrate the fascinating history and cultural legacy of the area. These include the Waltham Abbey bible, Tudor wall panelling from the Abbey House and artwork by Lucien Pissarro, Jacob Epstein and transport poster artist Walter Spradbery.
The museum is in the heart of the Waltham Abbey conservation area, housed in a prominent and much-loved Tudor Grade II listed timber-framed building, dating to 1520, with a late Georgian extension and a modern special exhibition gallery.
Councillor Brian Rolfe Chairman of Epping Forest District Council said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. Epping Forest District Council is very proud of its museum service and the wonderful collection it looks after and displays for visitors. The award of this grant will allow us to develop our plans for the expansion of the Museum as a centre for learning within the local community and provide greater access to the fascinating heritage of our district.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Robyn Llewellyn Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England said: “We are delighted to support Epping Forest District Museum with this award of a first round pass*, enabling them to develop their application further. This is a really exciting opportunity; the extra space would allow for a complete re-display and re-organisation of the Museum. More education space would be provided and even more of the collection would be on public display, allowing the community to understand better their local heritage.”
*A first round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and the HLF believes the project has the potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first round pass is an endorsement of the outline proposals. Having been awarded a first round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully-developed proposals to compete for a firm award. On occasion, an applicant with a first round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.