Small museums are invited to apply for grants from the Places of Science scheme, which is providing up to £3,500 for projects that engage communities with local science stories.
Run by the Royal Society, the UK's national academy of sciences, the initiative aims to encourage museums to think creatively about the science in their collections and their local area, and to present science in new, creative ways that will be valued by local communities.
To be eligible, applicants must have full or provisional museum Accreditation, and fewer than 65,000 visitors, or a turnover of less than £200,000 a year.
The funding will support projects that:
- highlight the topics, stories and people that are relevant to the local community
- present science in new and interesting ways
- encourage participation and involvement of the local community
- provoke curiosity, interest and enthusiasm among those that take part
This year, the scheme aims to play a part in the sector’s recovery from the pandemic while also supporting the increased interest in science across society.
Museums Association director Sharon Heal, who is a member of the Places of Science allocation panel, urged eligible museums to apply.
She said: “It’s been a tough year for museums – the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on visitor numbers and funding. Despite this, museums have worked extremely hard to keep connected to their communities and provided opportunities for people to come to terms with some of the momentous changes that have impacted us all.
“The pandemic has made us all think about the role that science and scientists play in our lives and this award is a fantastic opportunity for museums to celebrate innovation and present science in new and interesting ways.”
Jonathan Ashmore, chair of the Places of Science panel and professor of biophysics said: “There is a rich and diverse scientific landscape in the UK and this scheme celebrates the local museums that uncover and tell the stories of some of the most wonderful ideas in science and the people and places behind them. I would like to encourage museums to apply for this grant and use it to explore the inspiring science stories embedded in their collections and their communities.”
Applications for the 2022 scheme open on 10 January and close on 16 February. Museums can register expressions of interest in the scheme on the Royal Society website now.
Two previous rounds of the scheme have supported events and exhibitions at 27 museums across the country, reaching more than 40,000 people.
In 2018 the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum in Lochmaddy gave local children the opportunity to explore the marram grass dunes of Scotland, while young entomology enthusiasts helped to identify a previously unclassified collection of more than 1,000 insect specimens at the Littlehampton Museum, Littlehampton.