Support for Museums

Information and advice for museums

Latest advice from Arts Council England

Latest advice from AIM: Association of Independent Museums

Latest advice from NLHF: National Lottery Heritage Fund

Latest advice from Local Government Association

Latest advice from Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport


Updated 11/05/2020

Arts Council England

Latest advice from Arts Council England,

Museums should log concerns about how the Coronavirus will impact their museum at

Emergency Funding Relief scheme for arts organisations

ACE’s Emergency Response Fund for non-NPOS

  • Submission for ACE Emergency Response funds for non-NPOs is now closed.
  • Applicants for Round One should hear the outcome of their submission by 11 May 2020.
  • Applicants for Round Two should hear the outcome of their submitted from 11 May 2020.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Crisis funding for UK heritage affected by Covid-19

 Guidance notes are available on NLHF website

  • Grant amounts: £3,000 to £50,000.
  • Application form will be available from Wednesday 15 April
  • Deadline for application is 30 June 2020

Who can apply?

  • a not-for-profit organisation
  • a current or previous recipient of a grant directly from us (over £10000)
  • an owner, manager or representative of heritage, or be able to show you have delivered participatory heritage activity

Who can’t apply?

  • statutory organisations, e.g. local authorities, even if you have previously received funding from NLHF
  • private owners of heritage, even if you have previously received funding from NLHF
  • organisations that have previously only received funding from NLHF for activity-based projects under £10,000.
  • organisations mainly funded by UK and devolved Governments
  • organisations that have already accepted emergency funding from another National Lottery distributor.

How much?

  • £3000-£50000 to help museums over the next 3 to 6 months

What NLHF will fund?

  • This is short-term funding to support the immediate actions needed to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks.
  • You can apply to us for a grant to cover unavoidable costs you will otherwise be unable to meet for up to four months.
  • You should only apply to us for essential costs.
  • Partnership funding is not required.

What won’t NLHF fund?

  • costs that are eligible to be covered by Government support, e.g. furloughing
  • the remaining 20% salary costs for staff on furlough or any additional salary costs above the furloughing cap
  • redundancy costs of staff not funded by a current NLHF Fund project
  • costs that are avoidable in the short term. We will let you know if we think this is the case and remove these from your grant request.
  • costs you will incur beyond four months from the point of your application.
  • anything that contravenes Governments’ advice on COVID-19.

How do I apply?

  1. Before you apply
    1. If you have a closed NLHF project (you have received your final payment), you can contact your local team [] to discuss your options before you apply.
    2. If your NLHF project is still running, we recommend you speak to your investment manager before you start an application. We will discuss the options available to you.
    3. If you need to apply to us for any direct capital costs for an existing NLHF project, make sure you speak to your investment manager before you apply, as you may be eligible for an increase to your existing grant.
  1. When you are ready to apply

 To support applicants interested in applying to the Fund, NLHF have prepared a list of application information that you will need to get ready.

  1. Once you have submitted your application

NLHF will get back to you with a decision within two to four weeks. They may decide to offer you a different amount to the amount you request. Your grant award will be confirmed in writing.

  1. If you are awarded a grant

You will need to submit additional forms on our system so that NLHF can make a payment.   NHLF will let you know when you need to do this and guide you through the process. When you have completed this process, NHLF will pay 100% of your grant upfront.

Preparing your application

  • SEMDP is offering free, 1-hour bid-writing surgeries to South East museums to either help them at the start of their application preparation, or to proofread the draft.  Please contact your MDO with an expression of interest.

What is the deadline?

  • 30 June 2020

Important notes

  • Only apply if you can’t access funding from elsewhere.  Museums will not be able to receive both ACE and NLHF emergency funding.
  • NLHF will not accept re-submissions if your application was rejected

Historic England : Emergency Response Fund

 Full guidance notes and application forms available on the Historic England website

  • Grant amounts:
  • up to £25,000 for essential revenue support
  • up to £50,000 for projects that reduce risks to heritage by providing
    information, resources & skills
  • Application period is now closed ( 3 May 2020).

SEMDP: South East Museum Development

 Free Bid-Writing Surgeries for South East Museums

To help museums respond quickly with applications to the emergency funding schemes from Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, we are offering free, one-hour bid-writing surgeries to support non-NPO Accredited museums in the South East wanting to apply to either fund.

We have 50 surgeries available with Sonia Rasbery from 8 April.

These one-hour surgeries can be offered one of two ways (please choose which one you would prefer):

  1. an advice slot, involving a discussion about the scheme/s and application processes in relation to your circumstances
  2. a proofing slot, involving feedback on what you have already drafted

To book one of the ‘advice’ slots, we need you to confirm the following:

  • Museum name and accreditation status
  • Which funder will you be applying to (ACE or NLHF)
  • Which deadline you are aiming to submit your application (i.e. ACE Round 1 is 16 April; Round 2 is 30 April; NLHF deadline 30 June; Historic England Deadline 3 May).
  • How you want to be contacted (phone / Zoom / GoogleMeet / Skype / Whats App)
  • Contact name, email, phone number (and Skype username if wanting to use that; email alone is fine for Zoom or Google Meet)
  • Whether you would like your Museum Development Officer to attend the virtual meeting (Y/N).

To book one of the ‘proofing’ slots, we need you to confirm the following:

  • Museum name and accreditation status
  • Which deadline you are aiming to submit your application (i.e. ACE Round 1 is 16 April; Round 2 is 30 April; NLHF deadline 30 June; Historic England Deadline 3 May).
  • Contact name, email, phone number
  • Email a draft of your application to your Museum Development Officer ASAP so Sonia can read it before the meeting.

How to apply?

For more information, or to book a slot, please email your Museum Development Officer (see list below).





This support is only available to museums in the South East which are non-NPO, non-National, Accredited or Working Towards Accreditation.

AIM: Association of Independent Museums

Latest advice from AIM: Association of Independent Museums

Independent museums are advised to contact AIM to make them aware of any specific issues.–

AIM: Coronavirus Support Resources

Check out AIM’s Coronavirus Support Resources for a summary of government support schemes that are available to independent museums.

  • Coronavirus Job retention scheme
  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (includes museums)
  • Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Cashflow support through the tax system – including deferred VAT payments
  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Self-employed support measures

AIM’s HR consultants, TheHRDept, have provided advice and resources to help museum managers navigate the Coronavirus crisis.

Charity Finance Group (CFG) have put together a practical guide for charity finance professionals covering business continuity planning, cashflow management and insurance.

AIM’s Business Resilience Checklist helps independent museums consider their current situation and plan for challenging times.

Power Hour:  Arts Fundrasing and Philanthropy

Latest news from Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy

Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy is offering a FREE hour of consultancy support every day on a first come first served basis to arts organisations that may need help in the coming weeks.  This power hour can be focused on a range of areas including income generation, fundraising strategy, or donor cultivation.

Museums Association’s Sustaining Engagement with Collections grant funded by  Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

What is it?

  • In response to the current difficulties facing museums, MA are diverting £350k to a new type of small grant, Sustaining Engagement with Collections, which will offer grants of up to £30k for projects of up to a year. This will enable us to support 12-15 organisations to explore different ways of engaging with collections while physical access is not available or is severely limited.
  • This is a one-off funding round with a quick turnaround that has been developed to complement other funding streams, in particular those from Art Fund and the NLHF Digital Skills for Heritage. MA would particularly encourage potential applicants to think about experimental or innovative interventions with collections online, and/or collections work that will put the museum in a stronger position when it is able to reopen, for example by building audiences and income generation through work with collections.

How to apply?

Key dates

  • The next deadline for applications is 5pm on 26 May 2020 and successful applicants will be informed w/c 15 June 2020.

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