National Portrait Gallery secures £9.4m funding for major transformation. Search for architect begins in Autumn

London’s National Portrait Gallery has secured £9.4 million from The National Lottery towards its major transformation programme, Inspiring People.

The process of appointing an architect will begin in autumn 2017.

Inspiring People will be the Gallery’s biggest ever development, for which it has already raised over £7m.

It will include the re-display of the Collection in all the galleries, as well as an extensive refurbishment programme. This will create additional public and gallery spaces, plus a new Learning Centre to extend activities for schools, families, young people and students.

In order to grow its presence nationally, the Gallery will also be introducing a volunteering programme and new partnerships with museums and organisations all over the country.

The Lottery is initially releasing a development grant of £900,000. The building works are expected to start in 2020.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, described the Gallery as the nation’s family album ‘from Kathering Parr to Martin Parr.’

He added: ‘Understanding our national identity is more relevant now than ever, so we have an urgent job to do. We are going to make ourselves an essential place for everyone to feel part of the culture they have been born into, chosen, or are seeking to understand, to become a truly national gallery for all.’

The National Portrait Gallery opened its doors in 1856. The first portrait offered to the new institution was the so-called Chandos portrait of Shakespeare. It is now home to over 11,000 portraits in its Primary Collection with over 200,000 portrait images available for research online.

‘The National Portrait Gallery is loved and admired not just for its wonderful collection but also as a centre for serious debate about how best we engage with our national identity,” commented Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“We are particularly pleased that this funding will also be used to increase the Gallery’s reach across the UK by working closely with a number of cultural institutions, from South Wales to Sheffield, and with a focus on young people, families and those with special needs.’