Unboxing at the Horniman Museum, London

The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

£3.5m over three years to fund collections development projects for social impact
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, funds projects which develop collections to achieve social impact.

The Fund started in 2011 and 72 projects have so far received grants totalling £4.9m in its first eleven funding rounds. 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.

Museums, galleries and heritage organisations from across the UK can apply for a grant of between £20,000 and £120,000 for a project lasting up to three years.

There are two application rounds each year in March and September, with a short initial application form.

Shortlisted applicants are then invited to make a full application. The guidance for applicants has changed substantially, and all potential applicants should read it carefully before applying.

The deadline for the current round is 5pm on 15 March 2017.

How to apply

We are looking for high quality proposals to:

• work with an existing collection or collections to improve understanding of them and increase their use; and

• through that collections work, involve, inspire and have impact on people, communities and audiences.

To be successful applications will need to:

• engage local communities and/or those who aren’t typical museum attendees, and think about social impact

• be developmental for the organisation or sector

• think about the project's legacy, even if this is hard to define at the start of the project

Application forms and guidance

Round 13 EFCF Guidance for applicants (word)

Round 13 EFCF Initial application form (word)

What makes a good EFCF application (word)

Frequently asked general questions about EFCF (word)

Frequently asked budgeting questions about EFCF (word)

Projects that have already received funding (word)

Terms and conditions for all grants (word)


If you have an idea for a project, please contact Jonathan Catherall for an informal conversation and advice on developing an application.

Email: jonathan@museumsassociation.org

Telephone: 020 7566 7851