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Project information

Friends of the Harris

With your help we can do extraordinary things; enriching the lives of thousands of people and preserving the Grade I listed Harris Museum and its collections for everyone.

We support the Harris Museum & Art Gallery to make its collections and exhibitions inspirational for all.

June 2016 - December 2026

Charity information: Friends of the Harris

Friends of the Harris logo
  • Need


    We want to make every visit to the Harris special. The museum offers free entry to everyone, inspiring adults and children as well as community groups, people with disabilities and health problems and those with other special needs. We want to help the Harris to be ambitious, developing its collections, conserving the building and collections for future generations and mounting the best exhibitions. You can't put a price on the experiences people have at the Harris, but they do cost money


    The Friends of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery work closely with Harris staff to ensure all our visitors can learn from and enjoy our collections and exhibitions, discovering new things each time they visit.

    By donating to the Friends of the Harris you will support a wide range of activity, including educational and learning activities, supporting local artists, conserving the collections, purchasing new works of art and artefacts and creating new and challenging exhibitions for our visitors.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To make the stories behind our collections come alive for people now and in the future.


    » We will conserve the museum's stimulating and varied collections so they can be displayed and interpreted for everyone.

    What success will look like

    Receiving continued positive visitor responses to new and existing exhibitions and displays, including from schools and group leaders, as well as individual visitors.

    Aim 2

    To create events and activities that will inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.


    » Providing family activities, working with community groups and schools, hosting talks and lectures and ensuring our exhibitions are accessible to all.

    What success will look like

    Visitors and participants will have improved learning experiences, social and life skills as well as improved health and well-being, as a result of their experiences of the Harris.

    Aim 3

    To support new contemporary visual art exhibitions/commissions including supporting local artists.


    » Work with artists based in the UK and internationally to develop exhibitions and partner with like-minded institutions and individuals.

    What success will look like

    Continuing to show work not seen before in the UK and locally made work, commissioning new work and attracting UK-based and international artists to show their work in Preston

  • Impact


    The Harris will maintain its outstanding visitor figures of over 200,000 per year.

    Understanding of collections will grow as more stories about what we hold are uncovered to inspire future generations.

    Feedback from visitors, people's responses to our exhibitions, local artists and numbers of people at talks, lectures, activities and events will be positive.

    Other organisations will seek to partner with us and artists will wish to show their work atthe Harris


    The Friends of the Harris is a voluntary-run group with adequate reserves and few costs as it is entirely volunteer-run. We are closely supported by staff of the museum who value our work and dedication. All of the money we raise directly supports the work of the museum and art gallery and enables staff to make more of the collections accessible to more people and enhance the contemporary visual arts programme.


    We are grateful to all our donors and supporters. We personally thank each donor and invite them to join our mailing list so we can keep them up to date with Harris activities and invite them to exhibition openings and events. From time to time we hold special events designed to thank donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £15,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £5,000 Visual arts To develop and and show visual arts exhibitions including local artists.
      £3,000 Collections care To conserve and care for our collection and research object stories.
      £4,000 Community activities To use our collection to inspire new audiences to benefit from our collections
      £3,000 Accessible Collections To create interpretation, including talks, that speaks to a wide range of audiences
  • Background


    The Harris is in the heart of Preston, Lancashire. A Grade I listed building, the foundation stone was laid in 1882 and the building opened in 1893.

    Preston is the home of Preston Guild, which takes place every twenty years, and is the only surviving Guild celebration in Europe. The Harris is the home of Preston's history collections, including Guild memorabilia. You can find out more about Preston Guild here www.prestonguild2012.com


    The Harris attracted over 200,000 visitors last year, up from 150,000 in 2005. The Museum works to ensure that its visitor profile matches that of the area, including approximately 30% from C2DE demographic groups and approximately 10% of whom are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
    The Museum's exhibitions are interpreted to enable them to be accessible to as many people as possible including children and people with disabilities. Schools and other groups are offered bespoke sessions.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Friends organisation was founded in 1972 and has a long history of supporting the Museum. The Friends have supported exhibitions, interpretation, children's activities, access improvements, catalogues, purchases and conservation. Most notably, in 2012 the Friends made a major contribution to the new Discover Preston history gallery which enabled the Museum to unlock funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a number of trusts and foundations to make the gallery happen.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Greta Krypczyk-Oddy

    Greta is the Chair of the Friends, in addition to being an active and committed Museum volunteer.

    Hilary Machell

    Hilary is the Fundraising Manager at the Harris Museum. She works closely with the Friends in all their work.

    Jon Finch

    Jon is the Head of Culture at Preston City Council and leads the staff at the Harris with innovative, engaging projects.

The new Discover Preston gallery

The new Discover Preston gallery


Pays for art materials for a workshop.

Edmund Robert Harris left a legacy to build the Harris as he believed that arts and heritage had the power to enrich lives. His vision still stands.

Greta Krypczyk-Oddy, Chair of the Friends of the Harris