The purpose of the Museum Development grants programme is to use our five strategic goals set out in Great art and culture for everyone to drive development and deliver sustainability, resilience and innovation in England's regional museums.

The programme is part of our Renaissance funding programme. Applications to the fund are currently closed.

New network for 2015-18:
announced September 2014

Together the museums will receive around £3 million per year, and the museums are:

  • Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives (BMGA) (South West)
  • Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (Midlands)
  • Leicestershire County Council (Midlands)
  • Manchester City Galleries (North)
  • Museum of London (London)
  • Norfolk Museums Service (South East)
  • Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove (South East)
  • Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (North)
  • York Museums Trust (North)

The exact amount of funding for each organisation will be confirmed in due course.


From August 2012 until 31 March 2015 we want to ensure suitable development support is available to all Accredited museums in England so that they can maximise their benefits to audiences and communities. We will do this by delivering a national network of museum development services that complements other strands of Renaissance activity, and museum development services provided by other funding agencies.

The last round of Museum development opened in April 2014. We invited applications from organisations to deliver Museum development covering a geographic area for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2018.

Museum development network, 2012-15

In March 2012 we invited suitably qualified organisations to bid to provide this service for different parts of England.

This was the first time Museum development funds had been awarded for a three year period (2012/13 to 2014/15) by Arts Council England. Funding agreements began in August 2012.

Overall, £3 million of funding will be awarded per annum in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The bid for 2012-13 is for eight months from August 2012, therefore £2 million in funding was be granted in the first year. 

The nine organisations successful in becoming Museum development providers, and the amounts they will receive over the three years are:

  • Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and Archives; Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery; South West Federation of Museums and Galleries - £1,192,000
  • Herefordshire Heritage Services; The Marches Network - £832,000
  • Leicestershire County Council - £719,887
  • Manchester Partnership (with Cumbria Museums Consortium) - £880,000
  • Museum of London - £650,190
  • Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service - £1,141,000
  • Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton and Hove; HCC Arts and Museums; Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust; Oxfordshire County Museums Service - £1,400,000
  • Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums - £416,000
  • York Museums Trust - £840,000

Other sources of funding

The Museum Development fund primarily targets those museums not covered by other strands of Renaissance funding.

Other forms of support, such as those underpinning the Accreditation standard, also contribute to museum development. Renaissance funds the vast majority of museum development activity across England, although local authorities and other agencies also make an important contribution. Inevitably, a large percentage of museum development effort focuses on smaller museums, often independently run, that do not have call on a wide range of museum skills within their own institutions.

Through the museum development programme and in partnership with other funders, Arts Council England will build a network of support able to embed the success of the programme to date while working to achieve transformational change for the future.