Preston’s Harris Museum is made a Lotto winner

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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced an award of over £1.1m to Preston’s Harris Museum & Art Gallery to support the creation of a new gallery celebrating the city’s history, alongside work to restore and preserve the historic building.

The new Guild Gallery will be filled with historical objects telling the story of Preston and will open to coincide with the 2012 Preston Guild celebrations, the only surviving Guild in the county with an unbroken history stretching back to the 12th century.

The award from HLF will also fund repairs to the fabric of the building, remodelling of visitor facilities and widening the learning programme to provide new opportunities for people to engage with and share their heritage as visitors and volunteers.

Further funding has been provided by the Friends of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, the Foyle Foundation, English Heritage, Renaissance North West, the Harris Trust, Preston Historical Society, Harold and Alice Bridges Charity and local people.

“This exciting project promises to transform the Harris Museum, with the new gallery celebrating the national and international importance of Preston’s history,” said Sara Hilton, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West. “Our funding will also support the development of the museum’s education programme, so more people from across the local community will have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the museum and its remarkable collections.”

Councillor Ken Hudson, leader of Preston City Council, said: “The HLF grant is a wonderful achievement for Preston City Council and will enable the Harris Museum & Art Gallery to provide the very best history experience for local people and visitors to the city in Guild Year and beyond. We would also like to thank all of our other funders, including the many local individuals and organisations that have helped make the gallery happen. We now look forward to the hard work ahead to get the gallery open in 2012.”

The Harris Museum & Art Gallery is a Grade I listed building housing substantial collections of fine and decorative art alongside artefacts relating to Preston’s industrial and social history. It is managed by Preston City Council.