Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund - Museums Association

Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund

Now open for spring 2024 applications

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund supports a range of projects that bring collections closer to people.

We award the fund on behalf of Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and have awarded over £11m in nearly 200 grants since 2011. You can find out more about the most recent recipients (December 2023) of the funding below.

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund has evolved with the aims of both Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the Museums Association. We have launched a new phase of the fund for 2023 onwards.

How to apply

Please read the application guidance, terms and conditions in the document below and contact the Collections Fund team to discuss your ideas.

The next deadline for applications is 22 April 2024.


Please contact Sarah Briggs or Sally Colvin for advice on eligibility for the fund and help to develop applications:


We have made changes to focus on funding museums and their community partners for inclusive collections and participation work. We are interested in supporting social and climate justice using museum collections, in ways that are relevant to local contexts and relationships.

All applications to the fund must focus on existing collections, typically held by an Accredited museum or partnership of museums and other organisations. We will agree funding outcomes with successful applicants that relate to their ambitions for inclusion.

Collections Fund impact report

The Museums Association has been awarding the collections fund on behalf of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for over 11 years. The fund has changed over time, with an increased emphasis on innovative collections practice with social impact.

We have put together some of our key learning from the fund, highlighting its gradual evolution over the years we have run it and demonstrating the impact the fund can have on collections, people and the museum sector.

Read the report

What’s on offer

The new phase of the fund:

  • Supports work that furthers the established strategic aims of the applicants in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion, and/or is community-led.
  • Offers core funding to museums, to offer greater flexibility and support embedded change in organisations. Grants will be of a similar size and duration to in previous years.
  • Enhances our learning from grantees and shares this with the wider museum sector, for example foregrounding leading practice in funded museums and undertaking research with action learning sets.

Case studies

Back to Funding