Collections funding for small museums

Patrick Steel, 28.04.2010
Beecroft Bequest helps small museums acquire pre-19th century works
The Museums Association is encouraging small museums looking to purchase pre-19th century works of art to apply to the Beecroft Bequest.

Mark Taylor, the Museums Association’s director, said: “There are fewer and fewer funds available for purchase. The Beecroft is deliberately aimed at small museums, it is a small fund for small museums.

”Collecting as a skill is not as prevalent as it used to be, so the Beecroft Bequest helps to keep that alive.”

Tredegar House in Wales made a successful application last year for an 18th Century cabinet that was originally part of the Tredegar House collection, but was sold, along with the majority of the contents of the house, by the Morgan family in 1957.

Tredegar House was awarded £5,000 by the Beecroft Bequest, towards the auction price of £69,000. Other funding came from the Art Fund (£34,140), the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund (£24,360), and the Friends of Tredegar House (£6,100).

Caitlin Eales, the housekeeper at Tredegar House, said: “The cabinet has not only provided us the opportunity to enrich our displays at the house, but has also helped us in giving visitors a taste of how opulent the house was while the Morgans were in residence.”

However, said Eales: “Sadly, we don’t have a complete sales catalogue from the original house sale held in 1957.

”We do have several surviving inventories of the house from various time periods, and these offer us a guide as to what else might appear in the future. Other than this, we really must simply keep our eyes open.”

To be eligible for the Beecroft Bequest, museums must be institutional members of the MA, based in the UK, and accredited or registered under the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council scheme or have applied for accreditation. Preference will be given to organisations with annual revenue expenditure not exceeding £1,000,000 (In the case of branch museums, the revenue budget of the parent organisation applies).

For more about the Beecroft Bequest, click here