Curator Helen Giles said the museum had received £118,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to start its Huntingdonshires Heritage project. The grant will allow the museum to appoint a team of specialists to assess the building and its collections ahead of an application for a major grant of about £1.3million. Work will also start on planning new galleries and improved learning and research facilities. Community groups will be consulted about ways they can work with the museum to discover, collect and share their heritage. Mrs Giles told The Hunts Post: It is exciting news. Its all systems go in the next few weeks for us. The first step is to go out to tender for an architect and then get in some conservators to have a look at our collections. We will also carry out an access audit and talk to non-users as well to see how we can get them in. This year is about developing the project so visitors wont see much difference. The museum is expected to submit its phase two bid next summer. To secure its current funding, St Ives Town Council has given a £12,000 grant to the museum. For the Norris to obtain its phase two funding, about £70,000 will need to be raised in addition to the £35,000 already pledged by the Friends of the Norris Museum. Councillor Nick Dibben, the Mayor of St Ives, said: The town council is thrilled to hear that the Norris Museum has been awarded a phase one development grant and is extremely happy to be supporting such an important aspect of our heritage. The museum has seen an increase in visitor numbers and volunteer and community involvement over the last few years and this project will enable us to build on that success.