The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

A £1m per year fund to develop collections for social impact
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, focuses on time-limited collections work outside the scope of an organisation’s core resources.

Begun as a three year programme in 2011 awarding £800,000 per year, the fund was bolstered in 2014-16 with £1m per year to award. Grants are awarded in two rounds each year to museums, galleries and heritage organisations.

So far over 70 projects have received grants in the first eleven rounds of the fund, with grants from £20,000 to £100,000 being awarded to a range of types and sizes of museums from across the UK.

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

• build a legacy that has an impact after the duration of the project, even if this is hard to define at the start of the project

The deadline for initial applications is 5pm on 7 September 2016.

Application forms and guidance

EFCF Round 12 application form (word)

EFCF Round 12 application guidance (word)


What makes a good EFCF application (word)

Frequently asked questions about EFCF (word)

Projects that have already received funding (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