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The British Glass Foundation has been awarded £249,000 to make improvements to Stourbridge Glass Museum.

Arts Council England has awarded the money to the museum in Camp Hill, Wordsley, which was opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 19 April 2023.

The Government funding is part of a £24.2-million handout to 67 cultural organisations across the country.

The funding will be used to install solar panels and heat pumps, alongside other energy saving measures at the independent museum which houses the prized Stourbridge glass collection as well as hosting an array of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Museum director Alexander Goodger said: “We are extremely grateful to Arts Council England for this funding which will enable us to forge ahead with becoming more eco-friendly, efficient and innovative, through our exhibitions and artworks, through the running of the museum and by teaming up with our artists-in-residence. It’s going to be an amazing year.”

The state-of-the-art attraction, which was created on the site of the old Stuart and Sons glassworks factory, also boasts a hot glass making studio which has been greatly affected by rising energy costs.

The upgrade will mean the museum can generate its own energy to save money and reduce the environmental impact of its activities. In addition, the funding will pay for new digital systems to be installed to improve operations and e-commerce.

Glass artist-in-residence Allister Malcolm added: “We are excited to be racing towards net zero! We have partially made the shift from fossil fuels and now we are zooming towards all electric, with 100 per cent renewable energy - a first for a UK glass studio.”

The cash will also be used to introduce a new outdoor glass blowing space, with seating, to provide visitors with a unique and immersive experience. The money will also help to buy a portable glass blowing studio which can be taken out into the community for festivals, workshops, demonstrations, and other projects.

The grants have been awarded by the Arts Council to projects that will help secure the creative future of towns, villages and communities across the country, including in places where cultural investment has previously been too low.

Peter Knott, Midlands area director at Arts Council England, said: “Our capital funding is an investment in buildings and equipment that organisations need to deliver great art and culture in their communities.

“We’re delighted to award £249,000 to the British Glass Foundation to help them reduce their environmental impact and increase the opportunities available for artists and visitors.

“Their studio works with some of the UK’s leading contemporary glass artists and is a home for emerging talent. The building improvements will enhance the experience for artists, including those at the start of their career, meaning Stourbridge’s international reputation for glass blowing can continue to develop for many years to come.”

Darren Henley, chief executive at Arts Council England, added: “The Capital Investment Programme is one of many Arts Council funding programmes and is just one of the ways we support arts, culture and creativity. We are now one year into our new national portfolio for 2023-26, through which we are investing regular funding in 12 organisations in the Black Country across arts, museums and libraries to help us deliver the aims of our Let’s Create strategy.”

Find out more about the Stourbridge Glass Museum at stourbridgeglassmuseum.org.uk.