The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

A £1m per year fund to develop collections use
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 will continue from 2014-16 with £1m per year to award. Grants are awarded in two rounds each year to museums, galleries and heritage organisations.

This fund has been developed from the Esmée Fairbairn Museum and Heritage Collections strand and the MA’s Effective Collections programme.

So far 51 projects have received grants in the first eight 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.

Click here for projects that have already received funding (word)

For case studies of successful recipients, please click here

For the latest news and projects on Twitter, follow #collectionsfund

How to apply

Like the Museum and Heritage Collections strand we are keen to fund projects at an early stage of development where it may be difficult to guarantee tangible outcomes, but like Effective Collections we want organisations that are funded to become part of a network to develop ideas, share knowledge and build a legacy.

Projects that are eligible to apply to the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund include research into collections, conservation, collections review and initiatives to develop the use of collections. Our intention is that successful projects will include work that:

· is developmental

· builds 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

· is in some cases innovative

· is in some cases sector-changing in scale.

Our aim is that projects result in:

· better understanding of collections

· better appreciation of the potential of collections

· better use of collections.

The next deadline for initial applications is 23 March 2016. Please use the latest application forms below as the criteria has changed slightly.

For detailed application guidance, click here (word)

For frequently asked questions about EFCF, click here (word)

Click here to download an initial application form (word)

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


Telephone: 020 7566 7851