The grant, issued by the Department of Culture Media and Sport through Arts Council England, will ensure the world-famous Dorset charity can weather the immediate storm of the pandemic whilst working towards a sustainable future.
The Museum will spend the funds enhancing the visitor experience and developing new income streams, which will enhance financial resilience and safeguard jobs in 2021 and beyond.
Director Richard Smith said; “We are enormously grateful for this urgently needed funding. This award is an investment in our future and acknowledges the hard work we have already put in to navigating the crisis.
“We initially met the challenge of COVID-19 by rapidly developing our online retail business, but this cannot cover the losses we will have sustained during the pandemic – which has seen our visitor revenue fall by almost £3m.
“We also worked hard to ensure we could reopen as soon as we were permitted but have been burdened by the increased costs of operating a visitor attraction to ‘COVID secure’ standards.
“Our sense of identity and connection to the past is always important, especially in difficult times. This grant will enable us to make sure that a visit to The Tank Museum is both safe and engaging – and we can now also work to develop our online engagement and revenue raising activities which have proved so important over the last six months.”
The Tank Museum team will now spend the winter working to complete a suspended World War Two exhibition for 2021, and developing new visit-enhancing features to replace tours and certain interactives that were not deemed ‘COVID secure’.
The grant will also ensure that the Museum’s fleet of running vehicles can be appropriately maintained in the coming months– ready for the return of live-action vehicle displays in 2021.
With the Museum’s online shop providing the only source of revenue during the lockdown, funds from the grant have also be allocated to improving the museums online shop and by making improvements to the fulfilment operation – unlocking further growth this winter.
Mr Smith added; “As one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country to receive financial aid today, I cannot overstate how different our future would have looked without it. Our industry depends on important knowledge-based jobs that could otherwise have been lost in what is a relatively deprived rural area.
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“As a result, I know our supporters and followers around the world will share our gratitude and delight at this announcement. This essential support will fuel The Tank Museum’s fight back against the pandemic and allow us to emerge stronger than ever.”