Funding Sources for Museums

Page Updated 5/11/21

South East Museum Development Grants

View our 2021-22 Grants Programme.

Arts Council England (ACE) Project Grants

National Lottery Heritage Fund – Grants

Art Fund Grants

Historic England – Grants

  • 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

Association of Independent Museums (AIM) Grants

Latest information about 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.

South Downs National Park Grants and Funds

Funding support for community projects within the South Downs National Park.

More details here

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. Usually make grants to projects which are ready to begin but will also consider seed funding to kick start a project.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Funding Central

Provides access to thousands of grants, contracts and loan finance opportunities from local, national and international funding sources.

Garfield Weston Foundation

Revenue, project and capital grants in the following categories.  The Foundation remains open to new applications and are offering flexibility around timescales and reporting to current grantees. Are taking a phased approach to grants, including considering medium term core costs needs for resilience as well as planning for longer-term strategic projects.

  • 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. Major Grants – £100,000 and above; Regular Grants – under £100,000


UK’s leading grants and policy database.

The Grocers’ Charity

Grants of up to £5,000 for UK charities for conservation of historic buildings, conservation of historic objects or paintings, arts projects engaging with marginalised audiences for the appreciation of arts, 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


Health & Social Welfare

  • Projects to improve older people’s quality of life in residential care homes, including supporting people with dementia
  • Support for carers of older people (local & national)
  • Projects that support disadvantaged families and young people

Idlewild Trust

The next open round for arts and conservation grants will be in 2021. 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– projects that aim to conserve historic or artistically important objects and works of art

Institute of Fundraising

Professional membership body for UK fundraising. Website contains resources and guidance for heritage organisations and charities, including COVID-19 specific information.


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

Now includes lists of funding available for charities during the COVID-19 pandemic, information and advice, and support for Locality members.

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

National Heritage Memorial Fund

The National Heritage Memorial Fund has been awarding grants to safeguard the UK’s most important heritage since 1980.

They are currently developing a response to support nationally-important heritage at risk due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. As a result, they are only accepting applications for urgent cases that meet the criteria.

The National Lottery Community Fund

Funding for organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, specifically for user-led equality groups supporting:

  • black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee (BAMER) communities
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer + (LGBTQ+) communities
  • disabled people.

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

Nesta Arts & Culture Finance

Flexible repayable finance for socially-driven arts and heritage organisations for a range of purposes (e.g. developing new income streams, capital projects, working capital).

Cultural Impact Development Fund – loans and grant & loan packages £25k – £150k
Arts & Culture Impact Fund – loans £150k – £1 million

You can view investment case studies (including The Story Museum and The National Holocaust Centre and Museum) on their website.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Pilgrim Trust

Committed to preserving the UK’s unique heritage for the benefit of future generations. 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.

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.

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.

 Wolfson Foundation

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.




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