The Tate won £60,000 to conserve the sculptor Barbara Hepworth's studios in St Ives. Photography by Marcus Leith and Andrew Dunkley ©TATE 2011

MA awards over £426,000 to collections projects

Geraldine Kendall, 05.12.2012
Six new grants handed out by Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
The Museums Association has awarded a total of £426,674 to six collections-related projects in the latest round of grants from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund (EFCF).

The EFCF scheme, which is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, supports time-limited work to develop collections outside the scope of an organisation’s core resources. The total awarded in this round exceeded the usual limit of £400,000 because of the high quality of applications.

Successful applicants include Bristol Museums, which won £91,839 to conserve and digitise its collection of watercolours and tracings of ancient Mexican art by the Victorian archaeological copyist Adela Breton, who travelled extensively across the Central Americas. In some cases, Breton's tracings are the only remaining record of wall paintings that have since been destroyed.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge was awarded £100,000 for conservation science work on its illuminated manuscript collection, while Carisbrooke Castle Museum on the Isle of Wight won £41,450 to review and plan for the future use of its whole collection.

Monmouthshire Museums Service in south Wales was awarded £32,560 for What is Fashion, a research project on costume collections.

The Royal Air Force Museum received £64,000 to research and provide online access to its WWI collections. The museum will use the research to consult audiences on what to include in a new exhibition about WWI, with a focus on drawing out more personal stories from the collection.

In Exeter, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum won £36,825 to pilot a digital Collections Prospectus, which will link priorities for collections research with the research agendas of academic and research institutions.

The Tate Gallery was awarded £60,000 to restore and develop a long-term strategy for the working studios of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth in St Ives, Cornwall. The space, which has been preserved exactly as it was when Hepworth died in 1975, requires urgent and strategic care. The results of the research will be shared across the museum sector.

MA collections coordinator Sally Colvin said: “Over the last three rounds we had a small underspend on the grants allocated, but the applications were so strong in this round that the selection committee chose to reverse that trend and award over £426,000. I’m delighted with range of projects they’ve chosen.”