Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, received a Capital Kickstart Fund award of £975,500 from the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
The grant was awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
The funding will go towards restarting and completing Remaking Beamish, which includes a 1950s town and 1950s farm, as well as an expansion of the 1820s area.
The 1950s town will include houses, shops, a café, cinema and playground. Old miners’ homes will become a centre for people living with dementia and older people.
“This funding is amazing news and will enable the successful restart and completion of our major Remaking Beamish project, which was paused due to the impact of the pandemic,” said Rhiannon Hiles, deputy director of Beamish.
1950s town coming to Beamish
“The COVID restrictions and ongoing closure continue to have a major effect on the museum and this funding support is absolutely fantastic.”
Hiles added that the project is “the biggest development the museum has undertaken in its 50 plus years and aims to increase and broaden the visitor experience”.
She also spoke about “bringing overnight accommodation”, referring to the attraction’s recreation of a Great North Road coaching inn, The Three Tuns.
The Three Tuns will double up as a hotel and exhibit. Beamish’s collections will be displayed, and guests will experience hospitality in the 1950s.
Overnight accommodation for Beamish
Beamish is “looking forward to opening the new and exciting exhibits and areas, and to continue to deliver a brilliant and engaging visitor experience for everyone”, said Hiles.
“All over the country, this funding is protecting the venues that have shaped our history and make us proud of our communities, whilst safeguarding the livelihoods of the people that work in them,” said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
“These are all ongoing major refurbishment and restoration projects, funded by us, which have been threatened by the pandemic,” said Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
“We are delighted this extra funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that these exciting projects will go ahead.”