Aerial view of Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery from the south west with Carlisle Castle in the background, image courtesy of Carmody Groarke Ltd. 

Project Tullie is a phased capital development programme to transform Tullie House Museum over the next 10-15 years. Our vision is to create an innovative, welcoming and sustainable cultural hub that represents local communities and connects Carlisle and Cumbria to the world.

We aim to show more of the wonderful collections, attract more visitors, and engage more deeply with our communities whilst contributing significantly to the local economy

What are the aims of the project?

People. To create inclusive spaces for our communities which support engagement and creativity, and to be a catalyst for active participation.

Place. To reimagine the original purpose of Tullie House as Carlisle’s centre of arts, learning and knowledge.

Heritage. To reveal and restore the existing Victorian buildings and to share hidden collections.          

What have we done already?

Over the last two years, we have been talking to our visitors, listening to our communities and carrying out surveys to find out what you want Tullie House to be. We have also recruited a Community Board to help guide the future direction of the museum. Because of this, we know that you want greater access to our collections and an opportunity to engage more fully with the incredible stories of Carlisle and North Cumbria.

The Gatehouse entrance for the 1893 expansion to Tullie House. Images courtesy of Carmody Groarke Ltd.

What will we do?

Over the course of the project, we will seek to:

  • Redevelop our entrance and orientation area to make the museum welcoming and accessible for all
  • Improve visitor facilities, including a renewed retail offer and spaces for catering and events
  • Refurbish galleries to enable more stories to be shared and more collections to be displayed
  • Restore parts of the historic buildings currently used for storage, including the original 1890s Museum, and bring these spaces back into public use
  • Establish new fit-for-purpose learning and community spaces and develop new community programmes
  • Collaborate and consult with community partners to make sure our new spaces and programmes are relevant, and develop new volunteering opportunities

Project Updates

January 2022:

We received notification of a successful application to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for initial funding* with a grant of £522,810 to support development work towards part of Project Tullie.  This development work will run for 12-18 months. We will be submitting an application for the additional £4 million in 2023 for the next big phase of this project.

August 2021:

A funding submission was made to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for £4.5 million.

July 2021:

We opened Project Tullie, Phase 1, the Costume Collection gallery, which is located in the Victorian part of the museum.

March 2020 – March 2021:

Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, major funding opportunities were temporarily suspended. A review of the Masterplan was undertaken, and the fundraising drive continued.

November 2019:

A ‘Masterplan’ for Tullie House was completed with support from a Resilient Heritage Grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Project Tullie is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, the funding will help to transform the Museum into a thriving and dynamic hub for heritage, culture, and community wellbeing over the next 10-15 years, showing more of the city's collections and revealing more of the building's Victorian heritage.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

* National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. Project Tullie has initially been granted round one development funding of £522,810 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £4,500,000.

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.