Scottish Maritime Museum

Apply now for collections fund

Patrick Steel, 05.02.2018
Deadline for Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is 28 February
The deadline for the next round of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which is run by the Museums Association (MA) to fund projects that develop collections to achieve social impact, is 28 February.

Museums, galleries and heritage organisations from across the UK can apply for a grant of between £20,000 and £120,000 for a project lasting up to three years.

The MA is looking for proposals that work with existing collections to improve understanding of them and increase their use and, through that work, involve, inspire and have impact on people, communities and audiences.

Successful applications will need to engage local communities or those who are not typical museum attendees, think about social impact, develop their organisation or the wider sector, and consider the project's legacy, even if this is hard to define at the start of the project.

Sally Colvin, the MA’s programmes manager, says: “We’re a year into the updated criteria for the collections fund with our twin aims of working with existing collections to build social value, so we’re getting a sense of what makes the best application.

“The applications that really stand out have a ‘golden thread’ running through them that connect a collection to relevant audiences, and through the project contribute the development of the museum itself.

Projects we have funded in 2017 include the Scottish Maritime Museum, using boatbuilding apprenticeships to restore a motor yacht in the collection, and touring the yacht as a floating exhibit to isolated coastal communities; and the Silk Heritage Trust, researching a Jacquard and block printing collection as an origin of computer programming, and using it to create STEM learning opportunities.

“We’re looking forward to funding even more projects that that unlock the potential of collections and link them to the communities they can inspire and engage.”

Links and downloads

Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund