Arts Council England (ACE) and the National Lottery Heritage Fund have launched two complementary campaigns to support collections-based work.
The campaigns, Unlocking Collections (ACE) and Dynamic Collections (Heritage Fund), are aligned to support the development, reinterpretation and management of collections in museums, libraries and archives. It is hoped that the work will support the resilience of those organisations and help the communities they serve recover from the pandemic.
The campaigns follow on from a commitment by ACE and the Heritage Fund to work more closely together, as recommended in the 2017 Mendoza Review of museum provision in England.
Both campaigns will sit within existing open-access funding programmes offered by the two bodies.
Unlocking Collections comes under ACE’s National Lottery Project Grants programme and was launched as a time-limited priority last November. This means that for a limited time, the programme is considering more applications from museums in England to harness the potential of their collections, focusing on three strands of collection work: reinterpretation; collections review; and digital skills.
The Heritage Fund will support Dynamic Collections through its National Lottery Grants for Heritage programme and a range of other approaches, including digital resources and knowledge sharing. The campaign will have a wider remit, with the Heritage Fund planning to build partnerships across the UK.
Dynamic Collections is designed to address long-term challenges in the sector, and will also help organisations build on innovative ideas and trends developed over the past few years, particularly in digital engagement.
Eilish McGuinness, chief executive of the Heritage Fund, said: “Over the past two years the museums, libraries and archives sector has worked tirelessly, to adapt and innovate to keep the heritage we all love safe, while remaining engaged and connected to audiences. These valuable UK-wide partnerships will help us to support those who manage collections to plan for recovery and a resilient future.”
Arts council chief executive Darren Henley said: “The collections we hold in organisations up and down the country deserve to be seen, and we hope that by encouraging organisations to apply for funding through Unlocking Collections or Dynamic Collections, we will enable people to engage with a broader range of collections and bring them to life in an inclusive and relevant way.”