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Museums celebrate first fruits of funding boost

Representatives from Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, joined arts enthusiasts and dignitaries recently to celebrate a major funding boost for four key museums – and the exciting projects that are now underway.

Arts Council England recognised the Wessex Museums Partnership – comprising Wiltshire Museum, Poole Museum, Salisbury Museum and Dorset County Museum – as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) in April 2018.

The partnership is working on a series of major events and exhibitions.  Already underway is an artist-in-residence programme with Anne-Marie James who is creating artworks inspired by the museums. Her early works for the project include stunning paintings based on Wiltshire Museum’s Bush Barrow lozenge.  Her exhibition opens at Wiltshire Museum in 2019.

At the celebration event at Salisbury Museum, Clare Conybeare, Chairperson of Wessex Museums, said: “The event was an opportunity for us to demonstrate how the four museums plan to work together to reach out to new audiences, as well as share skills and expertise, and ensure the best care and conservation of our collections.”

David Dawson, Director of Wiltshire Museum, added: “These are exciting times for our Museum – the ambitious exhibition programme of the Wessex Museums will bring more visitors to Devizes over the next few years. Wiltshire Museum already welcomes visitors from all over the world and brings £500,000 into the local economy.”

As a National Portfolio Organisation, the Wessex Museums Partnership will receive almost £1.3m from the Arts Council over four years.  The museums have been working together since 2014, and this funding is enabling them to extend their range of innovative partnership projects.

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