The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in Shropshire has worked with the Art Fund and successfully raised £25,000 through an innovative crowd funding campaign to redesign the Museum of The Gorge and create a new community space.
The crowd funding campaign was managed and hosted by the Art Fund, through their Art Happens initiative with members of the public invited to donate online and in return offered a number of bespoke rewards appropriate to the size of their donation. The unique rewards ranged from a book of historical photographs to a beautiful hand blown glass bowl created by local artist Nikki Williams. These rewards will now be distributed to the 142 extremely generous donors.
The money raised will be used to transform The Museum of the Gorge through a complete redesign of the gallery and an upgrade of the existing auditorium, to create a dynamic space that can be used for both community and museum events. Upgraded audio-visual equipment will allow the museum to develop a varied programme of screenings, from historic Pathé footage to community films.
Anna Brennand, Chief Executive, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust commented:
“This is the first time that the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has run a crowd funding campaign and we are all delighted that we have hit our target. Now that we have secured the £25,000 with the help of the Art Fund and all our supporters, we can start the hard work of redesigning the Museum of The Gorge.
“It has been wonderful to witness the generous support for the museum from both local people here in Shropshire and from further afield, especially in these challenging financial times. We are very grateful to all the donors and hope that they will enjoy their rewards and also enjoy visiting the redeveloped museum.
“The Museum of the Gorge, which over the years has been a warehouse for the Coalbrookdale Company, a petrol station and a pop factory, is at the heart of the World Heritage Site as it acts as one of the main orientation points for visitors to the area and helps explain why Ironbridge is a World Heritage Site.
“It has been a huge learning curve for all of us at the Museum and we are very grateful to the Art Fund for their support and guidance.”
Work on the new designs will commence in the New Year when the Museum’s curatorial team will be conducting research in the Museum’s extensive archives in order to create the new exhibition telling the story of the different forms of transport that helped make the Ironbridge Gorge one of the great power houses of the Industrial Revolution.