The money raised by the charitable organisation which supports the institution’s work will be used to develop and refresh the Station Hall’s permanent exhibition.
Once this is complete around 200 new collection items and 25 rail vehicles will be on display in the Grade II-listed building, with Prince William, a class 47 locomotive, the newest of several royal trains matched with period locomotives to go on show.
Another significant new object to go on display will be an original wooden WH Smith from Waterloo Station that is currently undergoing substantial conservation work.
The overall refurb project is due to get underway in the early part of 2021 and expected to be completed the following year.
Charlotte Kingston, the Museum’s head of interpretation and design, says she is “hugely grateful” to the institution’s charitable partner for a donation that will “create an exciting permanent exhibition which will inform and inspire future generations”.
The changes facilitated by the £300,000, she adds, will be “impactful but sympathetic, using new collection items and railway stories to bring the railways to life, while retaining the character of the original building”.
The best of Friends
Established in 1977, the Friends of the National Railway Museum has a membership of around 1,850 and has contributed more than £1.5 million to the Museum over the years.
Philip Benham, the group’s chairman, shares his enthusiasm that the latest funding will “help the Museum tell its important story anew, together with the equally vital stories of the men and women who worked at stations, or simply passed through them”.
In addition to the Friends of the National Railway Museum contribution, £200,000 from Science Museum Group will be channelled into completing physical improvements to the heritage structure’s roof and walls.
The Station Hall project will take place alongside the Museum’s £55.3 million Vision 2025 masterplan, which will see the comprehensive regeneration of the National Railway Museum and surrounding area.