Sheffield's Weston Park Museum given £700k Heritage Lottery Funding

Weston Park Museum, Sheffield Weston Park in Sheffield has been awarded £700,000 Heritage Lottery Funding for improvements

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Nearly £700,000 in Heritage Lottery Funding has been given to make improvements to a museum in Sheffield.

Kim Streets, chief executive of Museums Sheffield, said Weston Park Museum had been "almost loved to death" by more than two million visitors since a £19m redevelopment in 2006.

She said its public areas would be refreshed and more of the city's collections would go on display.

The improvements are due to be finished by autumn 2016.

The £697,000 grant is part of a £1m redevelopment project for Weston Park Museum - the rest of which Ms Streets said would be raised through an appeal in the new year.

Formerly the City Museum and Mappin Art Gallery, which opened in 1874, the museum housed Sheffield's archaeology, natural history, art and social history collections.

It reopened in 2006 following a £19m redevelopment funded by the Heritage Lottery and Sheffield City Council.

Schoolchildren at Weston Park Museum The museum's public areas will be refreshed and more collections will go on display, Ms Streets said

Ms Streets said Sheffield's archaeological finds and sporting history would play a greater role in the permanent displays.

Museums Sheffield, which also runs Millennium Gallery and Graves Gallery, was awarded £1.2m from Arts Council England in October 2012.

The Millennium Gallery metalwork collection in Sheffield City Centre was given £110,000 by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in spring.

Following council and government cuts in 2012 and 2013, the 107 staff at Museums Sheffield were reduced to 69 and opening hours of the sites were decreased.

Museums Sheffield said staff numbers have since gone up to 85, and the Graves gallery in Sheffield city centre is now open an extra day.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield called the grant "an early Christmas present" for the city.

Work on the improvements is due to start in late 2015.

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