In 2011 we announced details of how we would deliver the Renaissance in the Regions funding programme for museums, having assumed the responsibility of this function from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) on 1 October 2011.  

In September 2011 we opened applications for the revised major grants programme for regional museums and published Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone - the document which sets out how we will place museums and libraries at the heart of our organisation.

We have a budget of £46 million a year for our new responsibilities with £43.6 million set aside for Renaissance - a 15 per cent reduction in the Renaissance budget for 2012-15 when compared to the last spending period.

The funding for the reworked Renaissance major grants programme - which replaces the MLA's proposed core museums fund - is £20 million a year. For the first time, major grants to regional museums have been awarded via an open application process, assessed against published criteria in a similar way to our National portfolio funding process for arts organisations.

Applications closed on 2 November 2011 and funding decisions were announced in January 2012. Grants of between £500,000 and £2 million were awarded for a period of three years, April 2012 - March 2015. Only Accredited museums with Designated collections were eligible to apply. Visit our Renaissance major grants pages to see a full list of our Major partner museums.

The major grants programme is one of the four key parts to Renaissance – an improvement programme for regional museums that Arts Council England sees as the key way to drive excellence and deliver long term change in museums in England, with the aim of attracting more visitors to museums and enabling people to experience them in new and innovative ways.

The other parts of Renaissance are:

Two strands of Renaissance, the Designation development fund and the Strategic support fund, are currently open for applications. Find out more about these funds.

Next steps

We hope that Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone will trigger conversations and informal consultation over the coming year to help shape a unified vision for the arts and culture from 2015.

Further details of other Renaissance funding, and of support for libraries, will be announced in the coming months.

Environmental sustainability requirements for Renaissance museums

Through our actions and investment we are committed to embedding environmental sustainability in the arts and cultural sector. As part of our new funding agreements, we have asked our Major partner museums and Museum development providers to develop an Environmental Policy and Action Plan to measure and improve their environmental impact and carbon footprint. These will need to be in place by 1 April 2013. Find out more information here.