Today (Friday 12 August), Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) has received a confirmed grant of £4,677,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards a £12.6M project.

The ‘Endeavour Galleries’ project will be completed in 2018, creating four permanent galleries in the National Maritime Museum’s (NMM) East Wing, an area previously closed to exhibition visitors.

The new galleries will relate to exploration in its widest sense – an investigation, a discovery, a way of thinking. Each of the four new galleries will bring the themes alive for people of all ages: Pacific Encounters; Polar Worlds; Tudor and Stuart Seafarers; and Sea Things, a gallery showcasing the richness of the Museum’s collections.

The ‘Endeavour Galleries’ project is a response to the Museum’s ever-increasing visitor numbers and the public’s growing fascination with the subjects of the NMM - 1.5 million people from Britain and all over the world now visit NMM annually.

The project will convert 1000m2 of space to public use, providing an additional 40 per cent of gallery space in which to place 1,000 artefacts on display, thereby affording Museum visitors better access to its world-class maritime collections. An extensive programme of activities is also being created to accompany the four new galleries, allowing people to further engage with the Museum’s collections.

Commenting on the award, RMG Director, Dr Kevin Fewster said:

“We are tremendously grateful to the HLF for this support which will ensure that this exciting project goes ahead. The new galleries will not only open up the Museum's collections to many more people but will also create a spectacular contemporary environment to enable all our visitors to better understand the continuing relevance of Britain’s maritime heritage”.

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London said:

“In 2018 we celebrate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific making this the perfect moment to be our supporting plans for the Endeavour Galleries. Expanding the National Maritime Museum’s exhibition space by 40% means more artefacts can go on display and provides entertaining new opportunities to share the stories of Britain at sea. We always put National Lottery players at the heart of our decision-making and we are confident these four new galleries will help attract a raft of new visitors.”

Before going on display, key objects will travel around the country and be displayed at several partner museums to engage new audiences with this important history.

The ‘Endeavour Galleries’ project will be completed in mid-2018, to allow the Museum to take a lead role in Cook 250 – the commemoration of Lieutenant James Cook’s 1768 departure down the Thames in HM Bark Endeavour on the first of his three voyages of exploration to the Pacific.

– ends –

Notes to editors

1. Royal Museums Greenwich incorporates the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-Century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. Royal Museums Greenwich works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research.

2. The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The National Maritime Museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. For more information visit www.rmg.co.uk.

3. About the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

For further information or images, please contact:

Rhianon Davies, Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office

Tel: 020 8312 6545 or Email: press@rmg.co.uk

Katie Owen or Rebecca Lamm, Heritage Lottery Fund Press Office

Tel: 020 7591 6036/6027 or Email: katieo@hlf.org.uk / Rebecca.Lamm@hlf.org.uk

Image: Artist's impression of one of the new Endeavour Galleries