Museums and galleries are a means by which people engage with arts and heritage. Many institutions outside London hold important collections which have the power to inspire creativity, motivate artistic expression and stimulate local regeneration.
The 2023/24 round of the Museums and Galleries Fund is open for applications from Monday 16th October 2023 until Monday 9th January 2024.
The successful applicants for previous rounds of the Museums and Galleries Fund can be found here.
The Museums and Galleries Fund aims to help strengthen museums and galleries in the UK, celebrating the unique assets that our regions possess and their benefit to us nationally. We want to help organisations enhance and sustain curatorial development to attract a broader and more diverse public.
We have earmarked 10 per cent of our overall grants budget for the 2024/25 financial year to be awarded through the Fund, with final decisions made in May 2024 for this round. We generally expect to make five or six grants for periods of two to three years. While the average grant size is circa £90k we will consider higher amounts for exceptional projects.
What we will fund
We are keen to fund work which has a legacy within and beyond the organisation. We prioritise applications that aspire to achieve outcomes for people working in curatorial roles, the collections they work with and the institutions in which they work. We are particularly interested in proposals which:
- enable new ways of working through innovation, new thinking and fresh approaches both for established curators or those just starting out
- ensure organisations are able to safeguard and advance curatorial skills and conservation skills, and make the most of opportunities at a time of development or change.
Who can apply
The Fund is open to a wide variety of collection types. We have supported visual and decorative arts, social history and anthropology, science and technology, industrial, natural history collections. You can find out about the grants we have made on our website and through 360 Giving. Accreditation is not required, but applicants are expected to demonstrate:
- high quality delivery in their field at a national level
- national significance, usually through a rare, unique, important or high quality collection
- commitment to collaborative approaches, either as the focus of the request, or at a minimum with a strong track record of partnership working.
In line with our general policy, we favour organisations with an income between £100,000 and £10m, but may fund a larger institution if it is uniquely placed to meet our aim. Local authority, independent museums and contemporary galleries without permanent collections are also eligible. While our priority is small to medium-sized museums and galleries outside of London, national and/or London-based institutions may also apply if their project brings significant benefits outside of the capital. Universities are eligible to apply but due to their size and relative financial stability are less likely to be successful, and we therefore recommend a pre-application conversation with a member of the Grants Team. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from those areas where we have made fewer grants, such as Northern Ireland and Wales.
The organisation applying must be able to demonstrate the following:
- an emphasis on the value of curatorial skills
- a commitment to active collections management, care and review, including disposal
- a commitment to delivering high quality and innovation
- strong leadership and commitment from senior management, board or the governing body
- effective financial management
- the difference a grant would make, to the organisation, the general public or other audiences.
What we do not fund
- individual conservation projects (but we may consider conservation work as part of a wider request)
- education and outreach work.
Applying to the Fund
The online application portal for the Museums and Galleries Fund will be open from Monday 16th October 2023. As for all other applications, we have a two-stage process. First-stage applications must be received by 5pm on Monday 8th January 2024. We expect to make first stage decisions in Spring 2024, with notifications being sent out confirming our decisions in late February. We expect to make final decisions by the end of May, so you should plan for the work funded by our grant to start from or after June 2024.
There will also be a series of one-hour question and answer sessions on Zoom, where queries will be responded to from applicants. The dates and times of these are as follows, and we ask that you click here to sign up directly on EventBrite.
26 October – 10.00am - 11.00am
1 November – 3.00pm - 4.00pm
9 November – 3.00pm - 4.00pm
17 November – 2.00pm - 3.00pm
20 November – 3.00pm - 4.00pm
30 November – 2.00pm - 3.00pm
5 December – 10.00am - 11.00am
12 December – 3.00pm - 4.00pm
If you have any access needs to support your attendance at these one-hour question and answer sessions, please email email@example.com to discuss these.
If you have any queries about eligibility criteria or the application process that are not answered in the Q&As, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A follow-up phone call with a member of the Grants Team can also be arranged for more in-depth queries. If you have applied several times before to the Museums and Galleries Fund and have been unsuccessful, we ask that you attend one of the Zoom sessions and/or get in touch with a member of the team prior to applying.
Please note that if you have applied several times before to the Museums and Galleries Fund and have been unsuccessful, or are applying on behalf of a University, then we ask that you come along to one of the question and answer sessions on Zoom and/or get in touch with a member of the Grants Team prior to applying.
Your first-stage application should include:
1. A description of what you are seeking funding for, on no more than two sides of A4.
- a brief description of your organisation, relevant track record, and relevant external factors impacting your work that you think we should be aware of
- the nature of your collection, and why it has national significance
- what you would like us to fund, including (where possible) a specific amount and number of years for which funding is sought
- how your proposal matches what we fund and are looking for (see above).
2. Financial information.
If you are a charity, a copy of your most recent annual accounts. If you are part of a larger organisation (such as a university or local authority) please provide an income and expenditure statement for the running costs of your department or unit.
If your accounts show a significant surplus or deficit, high or low reserves, please explain this briefly in the finance section of the cover sheet. If the year-end date of your accounts is more than 10 months old, please include your latest management accounts.
3. Create an online account and upload your first-stage proposal and financial information.
Please go to our online portal here to create an online account. You can then upload your first-stage proposal and financial information. This link will remain open from Monday 16th October 2023 until 5pm on Monday 8th January.
We are committed to diverse, equitable and inclusive practices throughout our grantmaking, and have signed up to the DEI Data Standard. This includes a form that we ask organisations to complete when they submit their online application. These questions are included so we can understand more about your organisation and the people being supported, to help us to understand our applicants and funding better. This information is being used to inform our own monitoring and strategy and will not be used as the basis of individual funding decisions.
Once you have created your online account and uploaded your first-stage application you will receive an instant confirmation.
If we invite you to apply for the second stage, we will ask for a more detailed application, and arrange to meet you virtually or in person, circumstances allowing, to find out more about you and your work.