A huge thank you to Museum Development North West who have given us permission to include their extensive list of funders. Please note that this page is updated annually, the details below are correct as of March 2021.
Please refer to websites for up to date information on deadlines, timetabling and grant conditions. Some funders, particularly charitable organisations, proactively seek museums to work with and do not accept unsolicited applications. These funding streams have not been listed here.
Anna Plowden Trust
Grants to support the development of skills in conservation:
- Anna Plowden / Clothworkers’ Foundation Continuing Professional Development Grants – contribute to the cost of short courses and conferences
- Conservation Training Scholarships – contribute to the cost of attending full-time conservation training courses
For existing CPD grant recipients – if you received a CPD grant for an event that is postponed, Anna Plowden Trust will honour that grant for the rescheduled course or conference. The grants are not, however, transferable to another CPD opportunity.
NOTE that if the conference you were to attend is now being held virtually you can still use your grant to cover the registration etc costs. However, please keep Anna Plowden Trust updated and send them details of the costs and whether you will need to use only part of the grant you were awarded.
For potential CPD grant applicants – despite the uncertainty of many CPD courses and conferences due to be held going ahead, Anna Plowden Trust will continue to accept CPD applications in the normal way. For successful applications, it will honour the grant if the course or conference is rescheduled, but the grants are not transferable to another CPD opportunity.
Architectural Heritage Fund
To promote the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK, particularly in economically disadvantaged areas. Where a building is listed, scheduled, or within a conservation area or of acknowledged historic merit – and potentially involves a change of ownership and/or use – it can help with advice, development grants or loans.
- Project Viability Grant – up to £15,000, for early viability and feasibility work, open now for applications
- Project Development Grant – up to £100,000, for capital project development costs, open now for applications
- Crowdfunding Challenge Grants – up to £25,000, to match fund crowdfunding campaigns, open now for applications
- Community Shares Booster Grants: further info to be announced
AHF aims to continue assessing and awarding grants as advertised. If you have a query regarding an application, please contact them on 020 7925 0199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a grant or loan recipient and have a query, please contact your AHF Officer.
Providing museums and curators with funding for acquisitions, training and development, and the display of art through tours and exhibitions.
- Acquisitions Programme – purchase of works of art and other objects of aesthetic interest, dating from antiquity to the present day
- Main Grants – grants of £7,500 and above and/or where the total cost of the work is more than £15,000
- Small Grants – grants of £7,500 or less where the total cost of the work is £15,000 or less
- Auctions – time critical applications of any size for works coming up for sale at auction
- Small Project Grants – grants of up to £10,000 to help museums, galleries and visual arts organisations act on good ideas and/or test new ways of working that will benefit their audiences. Projects should align with one or more of the four strands of Art Fund’s programme building collections, shaping futures, reaching audiences, and making connections
- Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme – funding for travel and other practical costs to help curators, scholars and researchers undertake collection and exhibition research projects, including temporary administrative cover
- Art Happens – crowdfunding platform for UK museums and gallery projects. Free of charge to any Accredited museum or gallery
- Network Grants – grants of up to £5,000 and between £5,000 and £15,000 provide funding to support Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) and other curatorial networks in sharing expertise across the museum sector, for the benefit of collections and audiences
All grant programmes are still open. If you have any applications in train, ideas you’d like to explore, or anything you’d like to discuss with the team, please get in touch. Programmes are being adapted and Art Fund are being flexible around timing and eligibility to help museums access funding more easily and meet the pressing needs of the sector. Art Fund are open to funding all types of activity, even those that would ordinarily be ineligible, and can make decisions very swiftly if required.
Network Grants are still open, Art Fund are particularly keen for this funding to provide opportunities for professional networks to continue engaging with each other remotely. It is encouraging applications for activities which can be delivered digitally, such as virtual conferences and webinars, increased website resources, or collaborative online collections engagement projects.
Small Project Grants are open, and Art Fund are particularly keen for this funding to support organisations in continuing to engage with the public during periods of closure. It encourages innovative and creative approaches and are happy to support experimental projects which can be delivered digitally.
For both funds it can turn applications around in a short timeframe and are happy to discuss projects which may fall outside the criteria specified in their guidance for applicants. Please get in touch if you are interested in applying.
Arts Council England
Supporting a range of activities across arts, museums and libraries
- Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants – open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects, funded by the National Lottery. As well as being able to apply for arts-focused projects, Accredited museums can also apply for non-arts museum projects. Museum projects are focused on museum practice (in other words, a museum’s collections, or other activities linked to its core mission or on developing the museum or its staff’s expertise). To be eligible for Project Grants, any museum project must have a long- or short-term public engagement outcome as part of its project aims. By funding museum activity in Accredited museums ACE want to enable high quality public engagement with museums and their collections:
- £15,000 and under – decision in six weeks
- Over £15,000 – decision in 12 weeks
The portal is until 31 August 2021.
ACE has made some improvements so the fund can be more responsive to the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners during Covid-19. These changes include:
- For now, you no longer need 10% match funding. Finding match funding in these circumstances would be particularly challenging. So, if you don’t have the full 10% ACE usually expect, or any match funding at all, you’ll still be able to apply.
- Museums can now apply to National Lottery Project Grants for Subject Specialist Network activity.
- ACE will also accept applications from a wider range of applicants for any activity that benefits at least one Accredited museum, its collections and its visitors.
To find out more about project grants for museums take a look at the updated Museums information sheet. View the presentation from Isabel Churcher, Senior Manager, Museums, ACE here. Full information about the National Lottery Project Grants can be found here.
- Developing Your Creative Practice – a new development fund designed to support independent creative practitioners to ensure excellence is thriving in the arts and culture sector. This fund will create more pathways for individuals, from a range of creative practices and backgrounds.
- Arts Council England (ACE) / V&A Purchase Fund – The ACE / V&A Purchase Fund has confirmed renewed funding until 2022. The Fund uses National Lottery funds to contribute towards the acquisition of objects relating to the arts, literature and history, by museums, galleries, record repositories and specialist libraries in England and Wales which are not funded by central government. You can find out more on their website.
Association for Industrial Archaeology
- Restoration Grants – grants of up to £20,000 for a range of historic and industrial archaeology purposes
- Major projects – maximum grant £20,000. The grant from the AIA must be a significant part of the total project cost, not just a small contribution to a very large project, so that the AIA grant has real impact. The AIA would not normally fund projects where our grant represents less than 20% of the total project costs
- Small projects– which are allocated at least 20% of the available funds. The grant limit is £7,500, for which the total cost of the project, excluding the value of volunteer labour, must not exceed £10,000.
Association of Independent Museums (AIM)
Membership network for independent museums, galleries and heritage organisations across the UK. Administers grants for museums to help AIM members with a variety of needs including training, conservation, development and exhibitions.
- Training Grants – support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their staff and trustees
- Collections Care & Conservation Grants – funded by the Pilgrim Trust, next deadline 31 March 2021
- Collections Care Audits – run in partnership with ICON to enable small museums to undertake a basic professional collections care audit
- Remedial Conservation Grant Scheme – funds conservation of accessioned objects
- Collections Care Scheme – supports projects to help museums develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections through improvements to collections care
Source of information for COVID-19 resources including details of government support available for museums and HR advice – aim-museums.co.uk/coronavirus-resources/
Administered by trustees appointed by the Museums Association, provides funding for acquisition of pre-19th century works.
Birmingham Community Foundation
Central point of information for sources of funding in Birmingham and the Black Country. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.
Charles Hayward Foundation
Grants for protecting, restoring and interpreting past inventions, discoveries, industrial sites and defining moments that have shaped our history and identity, and displaying them in a modern context for public engagement, use and learning. Will fund adaptation of former industrial heritage sites to creative and educational spaces, development of museums and galleries, conservation and preservation of pictures, manuscripts, books and objects for public display, use and interest
- Main grant programme – Heritage & Conservation (for charities with an income of more than £3.50,000) and Overseas (for charities with an income between £150,000 and £5,000,000)
See London Funders statement. The Foundation is still accepting applications.
Clore Duffield Foundation
Provides support for cultural learning, creating learning spaces within arts and heritage organisations.
- Main Grants Programme – open to registered charities and local authority run museums and galleries, mainly for capital projects
- Main Grants Programme: Learning Spaces – funds museum, gallery and heritage learning spaces
The Clothworkers’ Foundation
See Anna Plowden Trust
The Community Foundation for Shropshire and Telford
Central point of information for sources of funding in Shropshire and Telford. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.
The Community Foundation for Staffordshire
Central point of information for sources of funding in Staffordshire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.
See Big Lottery Fund
Country Houses Foundation
Grants for the repair and conservation of rural historic buildings and structures, including where appropriate their gardens, grounds and outbuildings. Usually listed or scheduled buildings but will consider grants to projects that involve an unlisted building.
Drapers’ Charitable Fund
Provides grants to support textile conservation, particularly textiles of national importance.
Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Current priorities for arts funding are art with a social impact, supporting emerging talent, and organisations at a pivotal point in their development. Other priorities are children and young people, environment, food and social change.
- Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund (administered by the Museums Association) – funds collections work outside the scope of an organisation’s core resources. Between 2017 and 2019 it is offering a total of £3.5m in grants, as well as providing events and resources for the whole sector. Expression of Interest deadlines are 26 April for grant awards in July and 13 September for awards in December, following a two-stage process. See museumsassociation.org/funding for further details.
Independent grant making trust for UK charities.
- Main Grants Scheme: Arts – support projects to help deliver artistic vision and help sustain the arts
- Main Grants Scheme: Learning – support museum projects which facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and learning and which have a long-term strategic impact
- Small Grants Scheme – to support smaller charities, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities
Friends of National Libraries
To help libraries, record offices and museums acquire rare books, manuscripts or archives that organisations would not be able to purchase with their own resources.
Provides access to thousands of grants, contracts and loan finance opportunities from local, national and EU funding sources.
Garfield Weston Foundation
Revenue, project and capital grants in the following categories:
- Museums and Heritage – support organisations that conserve and interpret our nation’s heritage for future generations, ensuring it is accessible and available to all
- Arts – support organisations that delight and inspire audiences across the UK
See also Art Fund’s Weston Loan Programme
Arts-funding trust to support projects that demonstrate and deliver excellence in the arts.
UK’s leading grants and policy database.
The Grocers’ Charity
Memorial Grants programme – grants of up to £5,000 for UK charities for conservation of historic buildings, conservation of historic objects or paintings, and improving accessibility to arts projects, performances or exhibitions.
One of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Trustees are prepared to consider unsolicited proposals so long as they closely match one of the following areas of interest:
Arts & Heritage UK
- Regional museums and galleries, with special consideration for curatorial support and acquisitions
- The display, study and acquisition of British ceramics
- Conservation of industrial, maritime and built heritage
- Arts education/ outreach and access to the arts for disabled and disadvantaged people
- Headley Museums Archaeological Acquisition Fund
- Bursaries for vocational training in traditional crafts, conservation and heritage skills
Health & Social Welfare
- Support for older people to live independently for as long as possible
- To improve older people’s quality of life in residential care homes, including supporting people with dementia
- Support for carers of older people, both locally and nationally
- Support for disadvantaged families and young people
See also Sainsbury Family Charity Trusts
Heart of England Community Foundation
Central point of information for sources of funding in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.
Henry Moore Foundation
Henry Moore Grants support exhibitions, exhibition catalogues, commissions, conferences, research, fellowships, publications, residencies and the development of collections through acquisitions, conservation, cataloguing and display.
- New Projects and Commissions – grants up to £20,000 for exhibitions, exhibition catalogues and sculpture commissions
- Acquisitions and Collections – grants up to £20,000 for museums and galleries to acquire and conserve sculpture for their collections
- Research and Development
- Long Term Research Grants – available to organisations only, these grants support extended research projects requiring funding for more than one year, e.g. a permanent collection catalogue. Grants can be awarded up to £20,000.
- Research and Travel Grants – aimed at individual academics (post-MA), curators and scholars, grants support research into the history and interpretation of sculpture. Will support funding towards research costs, including travel, photography and archival access. The maximum grant is £2,500.
Application deadline for rest of 2021: 20 May, 2 September, 9 December
The Herefordshire Community Foundation
Central point of information for sources of funding in Herefordshire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.
Heritage Funding Directory
Managed by The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Heritage Funding Directory is a free guide to financial support for anyone undertaking UK related heritage projects. This is a useful starting point for navigating funding sources in the sector and it is recommended that you visit the funder’s website directly to explore the latest information.
- Repair Grants for Heritage at Risk – grants towards the repair and conservation of listed buildings, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens, intended to reduce the risk faced by sites on the Heritage at Risk Register
- Heritage Protection Commissions – funding for strategic research and to build skills and capacity in the historic environment. Funds through both Open Proposals Programme and Calls for Proposals
- Regional Capacity Building Programme – for activities and projects which are regional in coverage and which promote the understanding, management and conservation of the historic environment.
All travel bursaries and grants are on hold until further notice due to the travel restrictions in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will reopen the schemes as soon as possible.
Supports registered charities in projects that support the arts and conservation.
- Art – improve opportunities for young professionals working creatively in the arts, particularly at an early stage in their careers.
- Conservation – support the conservation of historic or artistically important objects and works of art including artefacts, textiles, furniture, metalwork, manuscripts, wall paintings, tombs and stained glass of high quality.
The next Open Round for our Arts and Conservation Funds will be later in 2021. More information will be published the summer.
Institute of Fundraising
Professional membership body for UK fundraising. Website contains resources and guidance for heritage organisations and charities, including COVID-19 specific information.
Independent grant making foundation supporting charities that make a difference to people, society and the natural world.
- Museums and Galleries Fund – focus on visual and decorative arts, social history and natural history collections, particularly interested in applications which enable new ways of working both for established curators and those just starting out, or ensure organisations are able to safeguard and advance curatorial skills through a time of development or change. Deadline for first stage applications closed.
The Trustees award grants to projects to conserve historic objects, collections and features of buildings and landscapes that date from the Georgian period or earlier.
2021 closing dates for applications are 7 May and 27 August 2021.
National network of community-led organisations; work aims to inspire local communities to change and improve by helping people to set up locally owned and led organisations, support organisations to exchange ideas and best practice on community asset ownership, community enterprise and social action, run major national programmes to support and empower local communities.
- Museums Association Benevolent Fund (merged with the Trevor Walden Trust in 2015) provides funding for
- the relief of poverty
- alleviating financial distress suffered by past or present members of the Museums Association and their immediate dependents
- the advancement of education and training of students participating in programmes and training events organised by the Museums Association, including working towards the AMA
- The Museums Association recognise the severe impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the financial situation of those working in and with museums. In light of these difficult circumstances, the MA Benevolent Fund is providing a number of new funding opportunities to support individuals in the sector at this time – COVID Hardship Stream/ Inclusive Membership/ Additional support for professional development
See also Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
See also Beecroft Bequest
National Heritage Memorial Fund
Aims to save items of outstanding importance to the national heritage, and are at risk. Operates as a fund of last resort. Can help with purchase of works of fine and decorative art, museum collections, archives, manuscripts, items of transport and industrial history, historic buildings and land. NHMF can help fund heritage projects of all sizes. There is no limit to the percentage of funding that can be applied for. However, as NHMF operates as a fund of last resort, you must be able to prove that you have explored, or are exploring, all other possible sources of funding.
National Lottery Community Fund
- Awards For All – grants from £300 to £10,000 to support what matters to people and communities
- Reaching Communities England – flexible funding over £10,000 for up to five years to organisations in England who want to take action on the issues that matter to people and communities
- Partnerships – through their Partnerships funding, they make grants over £10,000 for organisations which work together with a shared set of goals and values
See also The Fore Trust
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Applications are now open for National Lottery Grants for Heritage from £3,000 to £5million. This marks a return to the core business, but it is not a return to ‘business as usual’.
The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means NLHF’s approach has been revised to what it will fund. A supplementary document that sets out Priorities for National Lottery Grants for Heritage for 2021-22. This is a formal part of the programme guidance until April 2022.
Guidance has been updated to include Covid-19 considerations.
Heritage Horizon Awards: grants of £5m and over – this fund is closed to new applicants until 2022.
National Manuscripts Conservation Trust
Helps preserve important manuscript and archive collections by awarding grants for their conservation. Applications accepted from non-national archives and record offices, as well as specialist libraries, universities and museums.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Arts programme aims to widen access and participation in the arts.
- Arts-based Learning Fund – support arts organisations working with schools, colleges and other education environments to improve the evidence base for their work, so that they can do more to enhance the lives, development and achievements of children and young people
People’s Postcode Lottery
See People’s Postcode Trust
People’s Postcode Trust
- Dream Fund – applications for projects involving at least two organisations (one of which must be a registered charity) to deliver their ‘dream’ project that meets one or more of their priority themes, including changing lives through early intervention and ending loneliness and social isolation. The Dream Fund is on a hiatus this year as it allocates funds towards supporting charities to help society to recover from the effects of the pandemic. However, it is expected that the Dream Fund to be back next year. Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Favours giving to organisations where relatively modest grants will make a significant impact. Committed to preserving the UK’s unique heritage for the benefit of future generations. Part of that heritage lies in physical objects such as buildings, artifacts and recorded information such as manuscripts or books. The main emphasis is on projects that conserve historical buildings, monuments and collections; also encourages projects that promote awareness either by making collections more available or by supporting academic research and ones that improve access.
- Preservation and Scholarship – projects that conserve historical buildings, monuments and collections; also encourage projects that promote awareness either by making collections more available or by supporting academic research and ones that improve access
See also AIM Collections Care & Conservation Grants, National Manuscripts Conservation Trust
Dedicated to supporting the creation, appreciation and awareness of imaginative and innovative content, programmes and projects that reflect the world from a child’s point of view.
- Open Grants Scheme – designed to support the cultural sector’s work with children and young people, supporting projects where the concerns of childhood can be heard. Grants of £5,000 to £20,000, but will also consider applications for up to £50,000.
- Places of Science – provides grants of up to £3,000 to small museums, funding projects that tell the stories of science and scientists relevant to communities across the UK. Closed until later in 2021
Sainsbury Family Charity Trusts
The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts is the operating office of 18 grant- making trusts established by members of the Sainsbury family. Each trust works autonomously as an independent legal entity with a separate board of trustees. Many of the trusts work closely with their chosen beneficiaries over a long period to achieve particular objectives and the majority of unsolicited proposals received by the Trusts are likely to be unsuccessful.
See the website for further details and a list of all the trusts.
Scottish Power Foundation
Provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations for the purposes of the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science, education, environmental protection, citizenship and community development. Next application window is expected to open in the summer of 2021, for projects that will start in 2022.
Sylvia Waddilove Trust
The foundation’s usual grant making programme has been suspended.
The Textile Society
- Museum, Archive and Conservation Award – awards of up to £5,000 for a textile related project within the museum, archive or conservation sector. Closing date: 1 September 2021
Trusthouse Charitable Foundation
- Grants For Deprived Rural Districts And Urban Deprivation – within these two areas, they support projects in the following categories – community support, arts, education and heritage. Within heritage they have a particular interest in industrial and maritime projects in areas of deprivation, which provide employability training and/ or volunteering opportunities for the local community and contribute to the regeneration of the area.
V&A Purchase Grant Fund
Material of any date relating to arts and culture is eligible for support: archaeological and ethnographical material; objects illustrating social and popular culture, decorative and fine art; rare books; documents and letters with good historical content, estate maps, writers’ manuscripts and archival photographs. Objects to be bought at auction are also eligible.
Aims to improve the civic health of society mainly through education and research, specifically supporting excellence in the fields of education, science and medicine, health and disability, and arts and humanities.
Open grant programmes are currently paused for new applicants.
Worcestershire Community Foundation
Central point of information for sources of funding in Worcestershire. Part of a national movement of Community Foundations that undertake strategic grant-making, facilitate philanthropy and contribute to achieving positive social change in local communities.