HLF sets up £3m acquisitions fund - Museums Association

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HLF sets up £3m acquisitions fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is launching a £3m acquisitions fund for the development of museum and gallery collections. Grants …
Patrick Steel
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The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is launching a £3m acquisitions fund for the development of museum and gallery collections. Grants of between £50,000 and £200,000 will be available, and the HLF envisages the initiative could fund about 20 projects.

The scheme, which will be launched in April 2007, will be open to all registered or accredited museums and galleries in the UK. Funding will be allocated in 2007-08. Acquisitions made using the fund must be more than ten years old and applications must include plans for acquiring objects within a chosen field.

It is hoped that the funding will encourage individual museums as well as small consortia with a shared collecting interest to apply for support to help develop their collections.

Speaking at the Museums Association's Conference in Bournemouth, Carole Souter, the director of the HLF, said: 'Collections and collecting are fundamental to the future of our museums and galleries. The HLF has been aware of funding challenges in this area for some time and we have now developed this exciting, new initiative through listening to the sector's needs.'

The fund takes on one of the key action points in the Museums Association's (MA) Collections for the Future report, which states: 'The MA will encourage the HLF, and other funders, to fund the long-term development of collections in addition to single acquisitions.'

Sally Cross, the MA's collections coordinator, said: 'It's very good to see those recommendations taken forward with the introduction of HLF's acquisitions fund and the commitment it gives to strategic acquisitions.'

Others in the sector were also enthusiastic about the fund. A spokeswoman for the Art Fund said: 'We welcome the HLF's plans to fund acquisitions, especially strategic acquisitions.'

Sheila McGregor, the collections development consultant for the West Midlands, said she was 'delighted'. She added: 'Regional museums are very short on money for collecting. If the HLF is setting aside dedicated funds then significant works by living artists are going to be able to enter public collections.'

Charles Saumarez Smith, the director of the National Gallery, was also enthusiastic: 'Anything that the HLF proposes to help solve the range of problems facing museum acquisitions at the moment is extremely welcome. The danger is that whatever we do will only be a drop in the ocean as to what is required.'

Patrick Steel

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