Grants for conservation - a brief guide

Museums sometimes need financial support when seeking to put improvements into place, and conservation and collection care is not an exception.

There are a number of sources of grants and support for museums and heritage institutions and some useful ones are listed below.

Museums Galleries Scotland offers a grants scheme for accredited museums in Scotland who are seeking to conserve their collections. Activities that may be funded include staff training, preventive conservation projects, and remedial conservation of objects and collections.

The Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust  has been supporting paper conservation in museums in Scotland for about 25 years. The Trust's Paper Conservation Fund aims to help accredited museums in Scotland, in particular small and medium-sized independent ones, to work with conservators to undertake projects that conserve their collections of works on paper.  Museums that apply do not need to be registered as a charity. Projects can be treatment of individual paper items, surveys of paper collections, preventive projects, training courses and skills development for staff associated, all with paper collections.

The fund awards £6,500 a year in two rounds, and aims to support up to six projects a year. The award will normally cover a percentage of the costs, but one training day a year will be fully funded.

Deadlines are 31 May and 30 November each year. Please see the Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust website  for more information, and for a link to the trust administrator who will send an Application Form and Applicant Guidance.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has schemes both large and small that can be accessed to improve public access to heritage items and collections.

The Association of Independent Museums (AIM) offers grants towards remedial conservation of objects, and preventive conservation of collections. Currently AIM is able to offer grants towards surveys of museum collections by Accredited conservators. Please see their website for details.

AIM also offers a useful guide to sources of external support for museums. 

The War Memorials Trust offers grants towards the conservation of war memorials of all types. They also offer assistance in marking memorials with Smartwater, a system for invisibly identifying the ownership of items.

The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust offers grants towards the conservation of manuscripts in publicly-accessible collections.

The Costume Society Elizabeth Hammond Awards are intended to assist with a wide range of textile conservation projects, including preliminary assessments and the costs of conservation work and materials. Please see the website for further details of who can apply.

The Drapers Company offers grants towards the conservation of the textile heritage.

The Daphne Bullard Trust offers grants towards the conservation of the textile heritage.

The Kathy Callow Trust offers small grants towards the conservation of various types, including training, collection care and remedial conservation.

The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund, managed by the Museums Association, offers grants for projects relating to heritage collections in the UK, with the current focus being on those that have a social impact.

The Textile Society offers grants for conservation of costume and textile items.

The Heritage Alliance offers the Heritage Funding Directory, a useful guide to potential sources of support for heritage-related projects in the UK.