Final three grants awarded to sustain engagement with collections during Covid-19

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the Museums Association’s Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund opened up a new rapid-response funding stream, Sustaining Engagement with Collections, to help bring people closer to collections at a time when traditional, physical access wasn’t possible. The fund offered grants of up to £30,000 from an initial pot of £350,000.

Due to high demand and the impressive quality of the applications, we diverted more funding to support this work. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve now awarded the final three Sustaining Engagement with Collections grants. In total, we were able to distribute £635,782 to 26 museums across the UK through this stream.

The latest recipients are:

Royal Museums Greenwich

£29,947 for All Aboard: Reconnecting and building resilience through collection exploration with isolated groups. The project will explore and demonstrate how museums could use collections to support isolated people post-Covid-19 by using their collections of 300+ travel journals with groups of vulnerable people experiencing isolation now.

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

£30,000 for Virtual Study Centre for Art and the Environment. The project will create a virtual study space sharing collections information for self-led or facilitated learning, based on sculpture collections relating to the environment.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

£25,105 for Union of the Arts: An immersive digital experience of Sir John Soane’s famous Picture Room. The project will produce a 3D digital recreation of the Picture Room, allowing users to digitally explore the collection, learn and experience the unique space and discover additional collections content.

The Sustaining Engagement with Collections programme is now closed, but the deadline is approaching for the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund: Collections Engagement and Innovation stream, which offers grants of up to £90,000 for collections-focused work. Apply by 14 September.

Image: Sir John Soane’s Museum, London

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