Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery - Main Entrance

It was announced on 15 June 2017 that the National Portrait Gallery has been awarded funding of £9.4 million from The National Lottery towards our major transformation programme, Inspiring People, the Gallery’s biggest ever development and its most significant project since the opening of its Ondaatje Wing in 2000.

The project will include a comprehensive re-display of our Collection across all the galleries, an extensive refurbishment creating additional public and gallery spaces, a new Learning Centre, extending activities for schools, families, young people and students, the introduction of a volunteering programme and new partnerships with museums and organisations throughout the country, building the Gallery’s national presence.

The support from the Heritage Lottery Fund includes an initial development grant of £900,000. The Gallery has already embarked on its fundraising activities and raised over £7m. The building works are scheduled to start in 2020. The process of appointing an architect for the Gallery’s building development will begin in autumn 2017.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is the nation’s family album, from Katherine Parr to Martin Parr. Understanding our national identity is more relevant now than ever, so we have an urgent job to do. We are very grateful for the vital support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which crucially represents, as we do, people nationwide. This major grant enables the biggest transformation the Gallery has ever undertaken. 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.’ 

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, says: ‘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.  Thanks to this investment of £9.4m from The National Lottery, the National Portrait Gallery can begin an extensive modernisation programme.  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.’

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, says: ‘The National Portrait Gallery is one of our finest and most loved art institutions, attracting huge numbers of visitors every year. Thanks to £9.4m of funding from National Lottery players, the gallery will undergo an incredible transformation. By reaching out to thousands of young people across the UK and partnering with museums outside of the capital it will share its unique, world-class collection even wider.’

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