The Cartoon Museum gains almost £100K in National Lottery Heritage Fund support, helps save it from closure

Cartoon Museum Logo. Photo: Will Potter
Photo: Will Potter

We’re absolutely delighted to report that London-based Cartoon Museum has been awarded a grant of £98,700 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to support the museum in combatting the severe financial threat resulting from the museum’s closure due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

As we’ve previously reported, the Cartoon Museum closed on 18th March 2020. As an independent museum with no regular government funding, 75% of its yearly income is through the door – admissions, shop purchases, schools and venue bookings, and the closure has resulted in the loss of nearly 50% of the museum’s yearly income, prompting a massive fund-raising effort online, supported by a huge number of comic creators and fans, which has raised close to £86,000 to date.

Save the Cartoon Museum

With the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the museum can now begin to recover from the closure period, and plan to reopen, previously not an option for the venue.

This includes ensuring the safety of its staff and visitors through social distancing and PPE measures, securing our collection, and working on new digital and socially-distanced activities and exhibitions.

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million has been made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.

The UK-wide fund will address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.

“We are incredibly grateful that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us through such a difficult time,” commented the Museum’s Director, Joe Sullivan. “Their support will safeguard the immediate future of the museum site and our staff’s jobs, and go a long way to securing our long-term sustainability. We want to say a huge thank you to all Lottery players for their support.

Comics Laureates, Three! In Conversation at the Cartoon Museum on Wednesday 13th November 2019. Left to right: Charlie Adlard, Hannah Berry, Dave Gibbons and Host Jason Atomic. Photo: Neil Kenny
Comics Laureates, Three! In Conversation at the Cartoon Museum on Wednesday 13th November 2019. Left to right: Charlie Adlard, Hannah Berry, Dave Gibbons and Host Jason Atomic. Photo: Neil Kenny

“We are very lucky that the National Lottery Heritage Fund also supported our Comic Creators project from 2015 – 2019, enabling us to collect over 400 pieces of key British comic art. It is humbling to receive additional funding now, and it is a real vote of confidence for the museum and our unique, nationally-important collection of British cartoons, comics and caricatures. We look forward to welcoming back our visitors as soon as is possible.”

Oliver Preston. Image: Cartoon Museum

“We are hugely grateful for the £98,700 donation from the NLHF,” added Oliver Preston, the Museum’s Chair of Trustees. “After what has been a very worrying three months, the museum can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We reopened our doors in 2019 after an £1.1million refurbishment, and this museum of laughter has an exciting new programme of exhibitions and events and is looking forward to welcoming new audiences and old friends with a sense of hope and optimism.”

“Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing,” noted Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund. “All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as The Cartoon Museum during this uncertain time.”

Cartoon Museum - London
The entrance to the Museum

Since 2006, the Cartoon Museum has received over 420,000 visitors since 2006 and built a nationally important collection of cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18,000 comics and books – all without regular government or local authority support. Over 50,000 children and adults have attended cartooning, comic and animation workshops and the museum receives 3,000 student visits each year.

The Museum has also uploaded and circulated their learning materials as a free downloadable resource for families to use at home and uploaded their current show, Dear Mr. Poole, at www.cartoonmuseum.org.

Although the funding is a massive boost for the Museum, the separate appeal, now close to raiding £86,000, will continue.

(Presumably, the fact that so many people have, and are continuing to donate to the Museum helps its cause getting what government agencies often describe as “matched funding”; so the greater our support, the greater theirs. This is a regular bench mark in other funding matters).

“We’re definitely going to need to keep fundraising,” Museum curator Steve Marchant told Museum supporters on Facebook. “We’re estimating a possible 80 per cent drop in visitors for perhaps six to eight months, and little or no school workshops/evening events, all of which form our main income.

“The Lottery had already given us loads to fund the Comic Creators Project, I really doubted our chances a second time. Looks as though we’ve made a good impression!

“That money alone wouldn’t have saved us, but with the £80,000 plus we’ve raised in donations, we can now limp forward hoping for a full recovery.

“Both personally, and wearing my museum hat, I’m extremely grateful for all your support. Dark times are getting lighter.”

Please consider supporting the Cartoon Museum by donating here. As a charity, the Cartoon Art Trust also qualifies for Gift Aid

• The National Lottery Heritage Fund is currently open to applications for its Heritage Emergency Fund – find out more here

• To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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1 reply

  1. Wow! Good news!

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