The Story Museum's exhibitions are now closed as we prepare for our major redevelopment. The Story Cafe is open Tuesday - Friday.

Press release: Story Museum wins Arts Council funding in latest round of grants. 22 Jan 2013

Tuesday 22nd January

Fledgling Story Museum’s wish comes true in latest round of Arts Council funding.

The Story Museum is to receive a grant worth £465,000 from Arts Council England as part of its latest round of awards. The Museum is one of 35 successful applicants to share £12m of small capital grants, designed to improve the sustainability of arts and cultural organisations across England. The funding, announced today, will take The Story Museum a step closer to the realisation of its plans to create a major international story centre in Oxford.

Kim Pickin, Story Museum co-director, said today: “We are absolutely delighted with the award, which recognises our vision and achievements and maintains the valuable support which we have and continue to receive from Arts Council England. We faced strong competition for funding in very difficult economic conditions. It has taken a lot of work to reach this stage – and this success will help boost our other fundraising efforts”.

First stage in Museum’s transformation

The Story Museum still needs to raise an additional £7.5m for its overall scheme but, if it can match this latest success with other bids in the pipeline,  hopes to advance an early phase of the development in the current year.

Sally Abbott, South East Regional Director at Arts Council England, said today: “The Story Museum is a valuable asset in promoting the role of literature in young people’s educational and creative development and also in instilling the joy of reading into young lives. We’re delighted to be awarding £465,000 to the museum to support the modernisation of its facilities, including a platform lift and a café and shop space to help generate income and ensure the museum’s sustainability for future generations to enjoy.”

Award builds on planning permission granted in December 2012

The Museum was granted change of use and planning approval by Oxford City Council in December for its designs, described by councillor John Goddard as “interesting and fantastically exciting.” The team is currently looking for support from a number of sources, and is in the process of recruiting a Campaign Officer to help achieve its goals.

Co-director Tish Francis said: “This grant is a recognition and reward for all those people, from authors and illustrators to charitable supporters and volunteers, whose ideas and hard work have helped us transform dreams into reality over the past seven years. It’s been a tough time and we’re not yet at the ball, but the coach has just been commissioned. Cinderella is now on the hunt for footmen, horses and ballgown. And more fairy godparents to grant more wishes!”

The Story Museum has been running a series of public events since May 2012, including three ambitious exhibitions and a range of workshops, talks and events. It continues to expand its pioneering Storytelling Schools programme, which now includes a number of schools in London. This work will complement  County and City literacy initiatives.

Poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, who is a patron of the Museum, said today:  “The Story Museum is a unique venue where people of all ages will be able to explore the transformational power of story. In a set of extraordinary buildings and spaces, people will be able to sit, climb, think, draw, listen, watch and tell stories themselves. It will be a place of many corners, many nooks as well as wide open performance rooms. This is an adventure which will draw in writers, artists, dancers, puppeteers, model-makers, story-tellers, film and video-makers creating new audiences as well as enriching the minds of regular museum and theatre-going people. As Curator of Stories, I have loved being a part of the Story Museum right from the off and am delighted by this award from Arts Council England. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone who has made the story of the Story Museum come true. Fairy tale or what!”

For details of The Story Museum’s development campaign contact director and chief fairy, Kim Pickin 01865 790050, or visit


Download high res versions of architects’ impression of the proposed transformation.

For more information contact: Cath Nightingale or Tish Francis 01865 790050,;

Full press release from Arts Council England


Note to editors

The Story Museum works to celebrate and demonstrate the power of stories to inspire learning, especially for the young. We use storytelling to improve language skills and confidence; since 2005 we have been piloting programmes in schools that reach 10,000 children a year, particularly in disadvantaged communities.  In 2014 the Story Museum plans to open a magical new world centre of children’s literature and storytelling in the heart of Oxford. The Museum’s patrons are Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Rosen and Jacqueline Wilson. Its Trustees include publisher David Fickling and children’s playwright David Wood.  The Story Museum is a charity and not-for-profit company.

The Story Museum is one of twelve Happy Museums across the UK, charged with ‘re-imagining museums for a changing world’ by learning and evaluating how museums can contribute to well-being and sustainability.

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, Arts Council England will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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