2 April 2021:


Oxford University has received a grant of £639,999 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the its museums recover and reopen.  The grant will support the Ashmolean Museum, History of Science Museum, Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum.

More than £300 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including Oxford University in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced today.

The grant will be used to support the reopening of the four museums later in the spring. The funding will allow the museums to develop commercial activities to help strengthen their financial resilience. It will also be used by the University’s museums to grow their digital capacity and infrastructure to meet the changing needs of audiences.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second round of awards made today will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, says: 'Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.  Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.'

Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, says: 'On behalf of all Oxford University’s museums, we are extremely grateful to the Government and to Arts Council England for their support. The grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund will make a significant difference to our work. It will allow us to invest in areas that are important for our audiences and communities and to develop our commercial capacity as we emerge from the pandemic. The last year has been challenging for so many cultural institutions but these funds will help us to move forward with optimism.'

Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England, says: 'Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work. We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.' 

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by Arts Council England, as well as Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute.




Claire Parris, Press Officer,, 07833 384 512


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About Arts Council England and the Cultural Recovery Fund
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Find out more at

At the Budget, the Chancellor announced the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund would be boosted with a further £300 million investment. Details of this third round of funding will be announced soon.


About the University of Oxford’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums
The University of Oxford’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums consist of the Botanic Garden and Arboretum, the Ashmolean Museum, the History of Science Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, and the Bodleian Libraries.

The four University museums are home to over 8.5 million objects representing the natural world, global art and artefacts: the Ashmolean is the first public museum in Britain and its collections include the most important group of Raphael drawings in the world; the Museum of the History of Science - housed in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building - contains the world’s finest collection of historic scientific instruments; the Museum of Natural History houses 4.5m zoological, entomological and palaeontological specimens, including the fossil bones of the first dinosaur ever to be described scientifically; the Pitt Rivers holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, with objects from every continent and from throughout human history.

All the University’s museums remain temporarily closed and will reopen in line with government guidance. For more information visit