The Imperial War Museum has received the Heritage Lottery Fund's initial backing for its proposals to create a new set of First World War galleries to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict.
The HLF's tentative support means that the museum can work on a full application for £4.5 million towards the £35 million scheme.
The new First World War galleries at IWM London are a key part of IWM's plans to mark the First World War Centenary in 2014-18 by leading a four-year programme of cultural activities across the country.
The galleries will be 45 per cent larger than the museum's existing First World War galleries enabling IWM to display much more of its world First World War Collection which includes art, film, sound recordings and photographs.
Original objects such as personal items, letters and diaries will be exhibited in highly interactive multimedia displays which explore the personal stories of those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.
The First World War Centenary also marks the opening chapter of IWM's history, as it was originally established in 1917 to collect and record everybody's experiences of the Great War, which was still being fought.
"We're delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support," says IWM director-general Diane Lees.
"The First World War Centenary is a landmark anniversary for Britain and the world. Through our new galleries at IWM London and wider Centenary programme, IWM will reconnect people with the First World War and keep the history and personal recollections of the war alive for future generations."
Carole Souter, chief executive of HLF, said: "We are very pleased to be able to offer our initial support for the exciting and thought-provoking transformation of the First World War galleries at the Imperial War Museum.
"The museum will play an important part in the international commemoration of the centenaries of the First World War and we are looking forward to working in partnership with the IWM as the project develops."
The museum is seeking to raise funds from a variety of sources including philanthropic donations, trusts and foundations, corporate partners and the public.
The Imperial War Museum Foundation, chaired by Lord Rothermere and with the Duke of Cambridge as patron, is also raising funds for the museum's ambitious plans. In addition to HLF's support, £13 million has been secured to date.
Architectural and exhibition design for the First World War galleries is already underway and is subject to a period of consultation before the final designs are worked up and a planning application is submitted to Southwark Council in February 2012.
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