The work is part of a £7.75 million project to transform St Albans’ Grade II* Listed Town Hall into a state-of-the-art new museum and art gallery for all to enjoy.
The new museum will house a number of galleries of varying sizes, including the large Assembly Room gallery and the newly excavated vault gallery.
The Finnis Scott Foundation grant is helping to transform what were originally a set of domestic rooms, later converted into offices, into two smaller galleries ideal for the showing of fine art and photography.
The St Albans Museums service has a number of significant works of fine art in its collection, including work by Louis Wain and watercolours by George Clausen and J. H. Buckingham.
Mike Gray, Chair of the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to the The Finnis Scott Foundation for this grant, which will support the creation of a new public art gallery in St Albans.
The people of St Albans and the district have a great interest in art, and will benefit immensely from the new museum.
The multiple gallery spaces inside the new development open up exciting opportunities to share a range of exhibitions, including works of art which may have been difficult to display in a larger gallery.”
The Finnis Scott Foundation was established under the Will of Lady Montagu Douglas Scott (Valerie Finnis) in 2006. Lady Scott held a lifelong interest in horticulture, fine art and art history. In the last five years, over one million pounds has been given away in grants to a great variety of projects, with an emphasis on the areas of horticulture and plant sciences, as well as fine art and art history.
The new museum and gallery will have a programme of regularly changing exhibitions on social history, as well as fine art and more contemporary work.
These will include rarely seen items from the collection as well as borrowed items and visiting exhibitions from other museums.
The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust is seeking a further £500,000 to reach its £1.7 million target for the required funds matching the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.