A pot of £23.8m will be available to museums in England for major maintenance and infrastructure projects in the fourth round of the Museum Estate and Development Fund (Mend).
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) scheme aims to support the sector to develop capital projects, fund important repairs and improve the visitor experience.
Grants of between £50,000 and £5m are available to non-national Accredited museums from the fund, which is delivered by Arts Council England on behalf of the DCMS. Applications to the fund will open on 4 March.
Mend has supported 67 projects so far since it launched in 2021. The successful applicants to last year's funding round are due to be announced this spring.
The arts and heritage minister, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, said: “Museums across the country form the heart of their community, helping people to learn about our shared heritage, and attracting tourists to the local area.
“Over the past two years I’ve been delighted to see how this fund has provided vital support to museums across the country, enabling them to improve their buildings and share their wonderful collections with a wider audience.
“The additional funding we are announcing today will mean that even more museums can fund major infrastructure projects, demonstrating the government’s strong commitment to supporting culture and making sure that everyone has access to brilliant arts and heritage, no matter where they live.”
Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, said: “Museums bring huge benefits to towns and cities across England and the people who live in them. By investing in the infrastructure they need, we can make sure our museums are fit for the future, and can make an even greater contribution to their local economies and communities.
“We’re excited to continue delivering the programme on behalf of the DCMS, and look forward to seeing the impact of the projects it supports.”
The expression of interest form will open on Grantium at 9am on Monday 4 March 2024. The deadline for submitting expressions of interest is midday on Thursday 18 April 2024.
Mend sits alongside the Cultural Development Fund (CDF), which opened for a fourth round of applications last month. The CDF has £15.2m to distribute in this round to capital projects with a cultural or creative industries purpose.
Mend, the CDF and the Libraries Investment Fund form part of the Cultural Investment Fund. Through the first two rounds of the Cultural Investment Fund, 134 organisations across the country have received a share of £106.8m.
Some of the projects funded by Mend so far
- Warwick District Council was awarded £2.3m in 2022 to deliver vital maintenance to Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum, based in the town’s Grade II-listed Royal Pump Rooms. Works include replacing the roof, improving environmental conditions within the gallery and allowing previously closed galleries to reopen, replacing rooflights, and repairing ceilings and walls.
- Derby Museum and Art Gallery received £750,000 in 2021 for a project to undertake the replacement of roofs, address rainwater problems, install accessible toilets and handrails, and make improvements to lighting levels.
- The London Transport Museum received £277,093 in 2021 for essential upgrades to its visitor lifts, making them safer, more energy efficient and more reliable.
- The Grade I-listed Harewood House in West Yorkshire received a £497,474 grant in 2022 to address the deterioration of the external joinery, including roof lanterns, windows and doors. Further masonry repairs will protect the fabric of the house from water ingress.
- Bletchley Park, the museum and former top-secret second world war code-breaking centre near Milton Keynes, was given £468,000 in 2021 to pay for essential maintenance works to its electrical and water service.
- Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum, one of the world’s first purpose-built museums, received a grant of £256,054 through the first round of the fund in 2021 for stonework repairs to the facade of the Grade II listed building.
- The Framework Knitters Museum in Nottingham, which tells the story of early mechanical sewing and how it led to Nottingham’s lace industry, was awarded £62,925 in 2021 for urgent repairs to roofing, chimneys, windows and gutters on its historic building.