Arts Council England has awarded £346,221 to Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Bromsgrove towards a major new development project that will see big improvements to the popular Bromsgrove attraction and wider benefits to the local area. The three year grant has been allocated from the Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, which helps cultural and heritage organisations realise development opportunities which will make them more sustainable and resilient for the future. With this support for its new project “Avoncroft: going forward to excellence”, Avoncroft will be able to stage regular demonstrations in its industrial, residential and agricultural buildings, develop stronger links with the local community and diversify its income streams, including producing its own stone-ground flour from its iconic 19th century windmill. The project will: Improve the visitor experience at the Museum by ensuring that there are regular demonstrations of the industrial, domestic and agricultural skills appropriate to the historic buildings. Ensure that the Museum’s windmill is regularly working and producing stone-ground flour which will be sold commercially. Recruit and train a larger volunteer workforce, including young volunteers, who will be able to act as demonstrators in the buildings and generate new projects centred on the Museum’s domestic houses. Develop the Museum’s period gardens to reflect the homes they were associated with and to use them to provide seasonal produce. Provide themed exploration and play areas for younger children to complement the Museum’s existing play area and encourage investigation of the buildings. Enable Avoncroft to work with historians to research and understand the historic buildings at the Museum. Provide a series of learning courses for the public in traditional rural crafts, heritage skills and traditional domestic and agricultural techniques. Improve the marketing of the area as a tourism destination and to develop working partnerships between local rural businesses. Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “In the current economic climate it is really important for cultural organisations to be resilient and sustainable businesses. Avoncroft offers people the chance to explore buildings which otherwise would have been lost to the public, and it will be great to see this investment support the museum to find new ways to make the most of its collection to attract new visitors and increase opportunities to generate income.” Simon Carter, director of Avoncroft Museum, said: “This award is hugely important to Avoncroft as it will ensure we can continue to develop new ways of making the Museum self-funding. We’re incredibly proud that we’ve continued to grow as an organisation throughout the recession and we are always looking at ways to generate income to support the Museum’s costs. This award will enable us to unlock much of the potential we are able to see and to involve more people in the project to make our part of Worcestershire a destination for visitors from across the country”.