Lotto fund grant for museum

The UK’s only museum dedicated to the iconic British lifesaving heroine, Grace Darling, was officially opened by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) on 4 March. This is thanks largely to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to the RNLI charity. A special ceremony will celebrate both the completion of the flagship RNLI museum, in her honour, and her life.

After a service at St Aiden’s Church, where Grace Darling is buried, RNLI Chairman Sir Jock Slater declared the museum officially open during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. He was helped by current RNLI lifesavers, Dr Christine Bradshaw and Sophie Grant-Crookston who are following in Grace’s footsteps – both follow the brave tradition of saving lives at sea and both have received RNLI medals for gallantry. Also helping with the opening were local children from Seahouses School.

The original Grace Darling Museum opened in 1938, and 70 years on after a major redevelopment project, its original Flemish brick facade now fronts a new two-storey museum. Designed to be environmentally friendly the museum temperature is controlled by a ground heat recovery system and uses natural insulation. During its two-year closure exhibits have been cleaned and conserved.

The new museum illustrates Grace’s upbringing, her life at Longstone lighthouse, the events of the rescue and her subsequent fame. Grace’s story is told through personal items, including letters and family portraits, with the coble as a centrepiece. The museum also features atmospheric audio-visuals and a stunning replica of the lighthouse.