Torquay Museum is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently-needed support from the Government.

The Sailors' Rest at Nos 29-30 Victoria Parade. It was erected in the early 1900s and offered reasonably priced food and temperance accommodation for men of the Royal Navy (PR10994The Sailors' Rest at Nos 29-30 Victoria Parade. It was erected in the early 1900s and offered reasonably priced food and temperance accommodation for men of the Royal Navy (PR10994

It has been awarded £120,000 as part of the Culture Recovery Fund to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure it has a sustainable future.

“Like many other museums we have endured financial hardship during this very difficult year,” explains Basil Greenwood, Torquay Museum’s director.

“We have done remarkably well in attracting back visitors since we reopened to the public in July but we are very heavily reliant upon income from visitors in order to keep the doors open and care for our amazing collections. That income has fallen significantly, making the Museum’s position very precarious.

“This vital grant from the Culture Recovery Fund will help us to not only keep the doors open, but allow us to deliver some great new exhibitions and further strengthen our links with the local community, including new education outreach sessions.”

An elevated view over the inner harbour with Victoria Parade in the background. From the collection of Ashton Reed. (PR16907)An elevated view over the inner harbour with Victoria Parade in the background. From the collection of Ashton Reed. (PR16907)

This year, Torquay Museum celebrates 175 years since its foundation. As the oldest museum in Devon, with extraordinary and internationally important objects in its care, there is plenty to celebrate.

The museum is home to around 330,000 amazing artefacts, with fascinating galleries exploring the history of Torbay and some of its most famous inhabitants.

The museum’s most important collections relate to the many caves found in the local area and are recognised as of international importance, finds on display include North West Europe’s oldest modern human fossil from nearby Kents Cavern.

The museum also houses Britain’s only Agatha Christie gallery, dedicated to the life story of the Queen of Crime.

Its Explorers Gallery follows the incredible journeys made by Torquay’s famous explorers, from the frozen wastes of the Antarctic to the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, showcasing the fascinating artefacts they collected during their travels across the globe.

“Torquay Museum is the cultural heart of Torbay and is a vital part of the local community,” said Basil Greenwood.

“It’s enjoyed by thousands of school children each year, who find its collections an invaluable aid to learning.

“The museum is visited by a diverse array of local people and holidaymakers, who enjoy its fascinating, interactive galleries and wide variety of temporary exhibitions and events.

“It has a vibrant and friendly Museum Society, which organises around 40 talks per year on a bewildering variety of subjects. The museum is also a vital resource for vulnerable and disabled groups, who benefit from an accessible and wheelchair friendly environment.”