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Museums celebrate George Eliot grant success on the lead up to City of Culture 2021!

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery and Warwickshire Libraries are celebrating the success of a £119,711 grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. Competition for the funds was fierce with just five bids being successful, but the project led by Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery attracted the largest grant award.

The 18 month project, Exploring Eliot, is an exploration of George Eliot’s significance today, using internationally important collections to bring her story to a wider audience. The project will encourage people to examine the author’s radical life and the choices she made, allowing them to reflect on their own experiences.

In 2019 it will be 200 years since the birth of writer George Eliot, born Mary Ann Evans. Her formative years were spent in Nuneaton and Coventry, where her intellectual development took place. This anniversary and the lead up to City of Culture 2021 makes now the perfect time to share her story and further develop these collections.

The funding will enable the appointment of a Project Officer who will lead on new research of all the collections to uncover hidden stories and to enhance the collections potential for future use. The Officer will also work with volunteers and staff to provide activities across the three organisations which will provide new ways of people getting involved in Eliot’s story. 

The legacy will include a new website and trail to attract more visitors to the three organisations to learn about Eliot, particularly in the run up to City of Culture 2021.

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact. Since its launch in 2011, it has awarded 90 projects with grants totaling over £6.7m in 14 funding rounds. Between 2017 and 2019 it is offering a total of £3.5m in grants to Museums Association members, as well as providing events and resources for the whole sector. 



Notes to editors

1.            For further information, please contact:

Imogen Lloyd


Telephone: 024 7623 7290