South East Museum Development runs several small grant schemes to help museums with priority areas of development.  Our themes reflect key priorities identified by museums in our region, and our grant schemes launch at different times throughout the year.

Do you need help putting together a grant application for a major funder?  We offer free grant-writing surgeries. Contact your local Museum Development Officer for details.

Other grant providers

Take a look at grant opportunities from other funders here.

Arts Council England (ACE) and South East Museum Development (SEMD) should be acknowledged in any publicity or promotional material produced in association with a SEMD funded project or activity.

You can download our logo and view our usage guidelines here.

Open Grant Programmes

Skills Builder Grants

Our Skills Builder grants support continuing professional development within the museum workforce.

We will offer grants of up to £750 so individuals (or teams) can engage with training and other CPD activities that help them develop the skills and the confidence to deliver their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

This grant is available to staff and volunteers working in museums that are Accredited or formally working towards Accreditation in the south east of England.

The application must come from the museum, who will be the grant recipient (i.e., we do not pay the individual directly).

Deadline:  We will assess applications monthly on a rolling basis. Scheme closes 1 March 2022.

More information here.

Organisational Health Check Grants

Would you like £2000 to address one of your museum’s pressing development needs?

We are looking for 10 museums to complete an Organisational Health Check with us this year.

The scheme (formerly called the ‘Museum MOT’) is a simple self-assessment process that helps museums identify what they are doing well and define areas that need improvement.

Participants will receive a bespoke Advisory Report from South East Museum Development signposting to useful resources, training, and funding opportunities.

You will also receive a £2000 grant from us to tackle one or more of your development needs in the coming 12 months.

The programme has been created in partnership with our museum development colleagues across England (MDUK).

To apply: Speak with your local Museum Development Officer and submit an online Expression of Interest.

Deadline:  We will assess applications fortnightly on a rolling basis until 1 February 2022.

Award:  £2000

More information here.

Museum Network Grants

Our Museum Development team works closely with regional museum networks to provide targeted support, training, and advice at a local level.

Museum Networks can apply for a small grant of up to £2000 to support collaborative working that leads to the development of new skills, research, and initiatives within their membership.

To apply: Speak with your local Museum Development Officer and submit an online grant application form.

Deadline:  We will assess applications monthly on a rolling basis until 1 March 2022.  There is a finite pot of funds available, so we encourage you to apply as soon as possible.

Award:  up to £2000

More information here.

Accreditation Development Grants 

To achieve and retain accreditation status, museums must take steps to address any ‘areas for development (or improvement)’ that are identified in their award letter from Arts Council England.

We have a small discretionary fund available if your museum needs a small grant to help to action some change specifically linked to your museum accreditation journey.

Costs could include things like covering mentor travel/subsistence costs, team training, and consultation fees.

To apply:  Please talk to your local Museum Development Officer, or our Accreditation Advisor to flag your interest and discuss your development needs.

Deadline:  1 February 2022

Award:  Up to £1000

Collections Care Grants

Collections are the backbone of every museum.  This year, multiple lockdowns and reduced staff/volunteer capacity have left many collections neglected and in need of urgent attention.

We will offer grants of up to £600 to address preventive conservation concerns, be it simply for basic conservation materials to safeguard your collections or engaging a specialist consultant or conservator to assess/work on your collections.

Next round opens 15 December 2021 / closes 1 February 2022

If you are dealing with an emergency (e.g., flood), please contact your local Museum Development Officer so that we can fast-track your request. We aim to remain responsive to museums’ conservation needs to enable us to respond quickly and effectively.

More information here.

Closed Grant Programmes

Recovery Grants

Recovery Grants are back.  Thanks to generous support from Art Fund, we are offering grants of up to £3000 to support activity that helps your museum build resilience and prepare for the future.

We wish to support museums in the south east in any way in which leads to the future sustainability and resilience of your organisation, which could be as simple as piloting new income generation schemes or building your digital output.

Areas of work we are looking to fund:

Internal and External Audiences

  • access and inclusion initiatives
  • diversifying boards and workforce
  • volunteer support and recruitment
  • reviewing governance structures

Environmental Sustainability

  • kickstarting green initiatives
  • forming new sustainability partnerships
  • piloting environmentally friendly practice


  • building digital capacity
  • monetising digital offers
  • bringing in new skills to your team
  • digital strategy development


  • collections management/care
  • research & development of your collections
  • audience development strategy
  • community collaboration/co-curation
  • health and wellbeing

Creative Collections Grants

Creative Collections is a new scheme that offers up to £3000 for activity that encourages museums to develop their collections through co-creation and collaborative practice.

We will accept proposals that explore ways to re-assess collections; work with guest curators to unearth hidden stories; and co-curate events or exhibitions with under-represented community partners.

We recommend that applicants watch a recording of our Creative Collections launch event which provides inspirational examples from Powell-Cotton Museum, the National Paralympic Heritage Centre, Hastings Museum & Gallery, and Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust.

Deadline:  27 October 2021, 5pm.

More information here.

Innovate to Generate Grants

Innovate to Generate is a new scheme offering grants and training support to help museums pilot innovative income generation ideas as part of their quest to build a stronger financial future.

We’ve recruited 10 museums to take part in the scheme and look forward to sharing their experiences and learning.

Congratulations to our cohort members:  The Novium, Bursledon Windmill, Crawley Museum, Amersham Museum, Carisbrooke Castle Museum, St Barbe Museum, Amberley Museum, East Grinstead Museum, Worthing Museum, Arundel Museum.

Image courtesy of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft

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