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A huge thank you to Museum Development North West who have given us permission to share their extensive list of funders.  Please note that this page is updated annually, the details below are correct as of August 2019.

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
  • Scholarships and CPD Grants in memory of Robert Shepherd
  • Award for Research and Innovation in Conservation

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
  • Transformational Project Grants – up to £350,000, for transformational capital projects, open now for applications.  Deadline for applications: Monday 30 September 2019.  Decisions on the first round of applications will be made in December.  A second round will be announced in 2020.
  • Community Shares Booster Grants: further info to be announced

Art Fund

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
  • Conservation Grants – grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 to help organisations to unlock new stories about objects in their collection, while ensuring they are well cared for, better displayed and researched
  • 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
  • Weston Loan Programme – grant programme to provide regional museums and visitors with increased access to national museum and gallery collections, made possible by the Garfield Weston Foundation.  Next deadline Tuesday 10 September 2019.
  • 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
  • Headley Fellowships with Art Fund – programme to provide experienced curators with the time and resources to carry out research projects deepening specialist knowledge and expertise around their collections, made possible with support of the Headley Trust.  Next deadline Monday 7 October 2019.
  • Curatorial 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

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 now 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
  • 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

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.

  • Conservation Scheme – next deadline is 30 September
  • Collection Care Audit Scheme For Smaller Museums – Funded by the Pilgrim Trust, the scheme will support museums to care for their collections more effectively and efficiently in the long-term, to meet the standards required for Accreditation and will give museums the option to undertake an audit before making a full application to the AIM Collections Care Grant Scheme – the next deadline is Wednesday 30 September
  • Preventive Conservation Scheme – next deadline is Wednesday 30 September
  • AIM Training Grants – AIM Training Grants are available to support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their workforce (paid or voluntary) – applications are accepted on a rolling basis with decisions made monthly
  • AIM Biffa Award History Makers – The programme is a partnership between Biffa Award and AIM and it supports AIM member museums in England by funding new exhibitions that will inspire the public through the lives and achievements of extraordinary, historical figures who have made a significant impact on the industrial, creative industries and arts, scientific, commercial or social history of the UK, helping to shape the world we live in today.
  • AIM Hallmarks Awards
    • Main grants of £4000 to £12000: will enable museums to implement the key ideas of the AIM Hallmarks.  They will support projects that have an impact on museums’ ways of working, culture, strategy or business model.  These will be open to all Accredited AIM member museums in England.
    • Small grants of £3000 – £6000: will support museums to improve their financial sustainability through either cost saving or income generation.  These will only be open to Accredited AIM member museums in England in AIM’s small museum category (that is, museums with up to 20,000 visitors a year).  The closing date for both strands will be Wednesday 20 November 2019.
  • Remedial Conservation Scheme – The AIM / Pilgrim Trust Conservation Grant Scheme is intended to help small museums with the conservation of objects in their collections – next deadline is Monday 30 September 2019.
  • Also see Charity Finance Group

Beecroft Bequest

Administered by trustees appointed by the Museums Association, provides funding for acquisition of pre-19th century works.

Big Give

Supports charities by showcasing their work to supporters and philanthropists, allowing charities to take online donations, increase online visibility, and offering opportunities to take part in match funding campaigns.

  • Christmas Challenge Funding – match funding challenge, double donations during a specified time; encourages larger donations from new, current and lapsed donors.  Encourages charities to use new ways of fundraising e.g. through social media.

Bulldog Trust

See The Fore Trust

Charity Finance Group

Through funding from Arts Council England, AIM has purchased bulk membership of CFG for all AIM members to support them to develop better financial management and governance.  Members receive member rates and discounts for CFG’s programme of events, training and members’ meetings, specifically designed for a range of different sized charities and organisations; networking with peers and online forums; publications; access to specialist finance helplines, and the chance to impact on CFG’s policy work.

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.

  • Main grant programme – Heritage & Conservation (for charities with an income of more than £350,000) and Overseas (for charities with an income between £150,000 and £5,000,000)

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

Co-op Foundation

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.

Daphne Bullard Trust

Run by the Museums Association, provides grants for textile conservation and display.

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.  Deadline for applications for current round is 11 September 2019.  See for further details.

The Fore Trust

Make grants of up to £30,000 over one to three years and provide access to business expertise to help grantees achieve their goals.  Offering development funding and strategic support to early-stage charities and social enterprises.  A partner of the Big Lottery Fund.

Foyle Foundation

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.

Funding Central

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

Golsoncott Foundation

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.

Headley Trust

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
  • Archaeology
  • Arts education / outreach and access to the arts for disabled and disadvantaged people
  • Headley Museums Archaeological Acquisition Fund

Arts & Heritage Overseas

  • Conservation and recording of heritage (including ecclesiastical & vernacular architecture, archaeology and cultural artefacts), primarily in South Eastern Europe (Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina), but also in Turkey and Ethiopia
  • Raising awareness of heritage issues in these countries, supporting the capacity of new heritage Non Government Organisations (NGOs), and training the next generation of conservation and heritage professionals


  • 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 Art Fund’s Headley Fellowships

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.

The next deadline for receipt of applications is Thursday 12 September 2019 (open until 23:55).  Applications can be submitted at any time between now and Thursday 12 September.

The Heritage Alliance

The Heritage Alliance briefs opinion-formers in the Westminster government and beyond on the value of heritage and the contribution that independent heritage organisations make to contemporary society

See also Giving to Heritage, resources from the Heritage Alliance’s training programme, aimed primarily at those with little or no experience of fundraising.

Historic England

  • 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.


  • British Council Travel Grant Scheme – grants to support museum professionals to develop mutually beneficial international projects and partnerships for their organisations, funding enables recipients to undertake an international visit to meet with colleagues and share skills, expertise and experience – Deadline for applications: 09:00 Monday 14th October 2019
  • Travel Bursary Fund – grants for museum workers across the UK to attend ICOM general conferences, meetings of its International Committees (subject specialist groups) and other relevant international conferences – Deadline for applications: Saturday 30 November 2019


See AIM Collections Care Audits

Idlewild Trust

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 in museums, galleries, places of worship, historic buildings or their grounds

Institute of Fundraising

Professional membership body for UK fundraising.  Website contains resources and guidance for heritage organisations and charities.

Also see The Heritage Alliance’s Giving to Heritage

John Ellerman

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 – Applications open on Monday 16 September 2019

Kathy Callow Trust

Run by the Museums Association, provides grants for social history conservation projects.

Leche Trust

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.


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

  • 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

See also Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
See also Daphne Bullard Trust
See also Beecroft Bequest
See also Kathy Callow Trust

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
  • Building Connections Fund – Following the Prime Minister’s wider endorsement of the Jo Cox Commission recommendations on Loneliness in January 2018, the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund has been set up to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness.  Grants range from £30,000 to £100,000
  • 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
  • Safeguarding Training Fund – Phase 2 – The Safeguarding Training Fund is a jointly funded programme developed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and The National Lottery Community Fund (The Fund).  It will provide funding over two phases until March 2022

See also The Fore Trust

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Grants to sustain and transform the UK’s heritage.

In early 2019 the National Lottery Heritage Fund began a new, five-year Strategic Funding Framework that sets out how it will distribute National Lottery good causes money to the heritage sector.

Take a look at the various levels of funding and decide which one might be right for you.

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 and Postcode Community 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 will be open for applications on Monday 2 September 2019.  Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Pilgrim Trust

To preserve and promote Britain’s historical and intellectual assets and to provide assistance to vulnerable members of society.  Supports projects where funds will make the greatest impact and are also interested in projects where charities are having difficulty in raising funds from other sources

  • 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 Audits, Remedial Conservation Grant Scheme

Postcode Community Trust

To support organisations to deliver on initiatives that benefit communities through grass roots sports, arts, recreation and wellbeing programmes that improve a community’s physical and mental health.  Funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Ragdoll Foundation

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.

Royal Society

  • 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

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.

Sylvia Waddilove Trust

Grants to charities for projects relating to the Trust’s priorities, including the preservation of buildings of architectural or historical significance.

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

Transform Foundation

Provides the initial funding to small and mid-size charities to help them prove the potential of online marketing as a way of recruiting donors, volunteers, campaigners, or helping beneficiaries.  Generally fund organisations with an annual income of between £350,000 and £30million per year; will shortly be announcing programmes for smaller charities, with less sophisticated requirements for funding.

  • Website Grants – funding of up to £18,000 to cover the strategy, design, build, content strategy, training and launch of a new mobile optimised website, with sophisticated marketing, fundraising, appeals, social media, e-commerce and website management tools

Trusthouse Charitable Foundation

  • Grants For Rural Issues 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 employment and / or volunteering opportunities for the local community and contribute to the regeneration of the area.

Wolfson Foundation

Awards grants to support the arts and humanities – in recognition of the UK’s strength in this area and the importance of the cultural sector both to the economy and to the enrichment of society.

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