Applications to this fund are now closed.


Our decision-making will be in two distinct stages.

Stage one: assessing your application

The body of your application will be a proposal set out under five headings based on the five goals set out in Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone. Initially you will tell us how your organisation is currently meeting our goals for the museums sector. Then you should set out in greater detail what your understanding of the needs of museums within your proposed geographical area is, what your plans are for the future to support those museums and, specifically, how the award of this grant will contribute to this process. For the funding period 2012-15 we will particularly focus upon the delivery of goal 3 for the sector. However, we expect you to contribute to all five goals, although your funding application may particularly address in detail certain goals informed by local need. 

The application will involve a critical assessment of where excellence has been achieved within the proposed area, where change and development is needed, the nature of the journey involved and how excellence can be embedded and made resilient and sustainable.

The five goals are:

Excellence (goal 1: excellence is thriving and celebrated in museums)

Audiences (goal 2: more people experience and are inspired by museums)

Resilience (goal 3: museums are sustainable, resilient and innovative)

Leadership and diversity (goal 4: the leadership and workforce in museums are diverse and highly skilled)

Children and young people (goal 5: every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of museums)

Stage two: achieving national coverage

The second stage makes a judgment about how well the organisation or partnership would fit into a comprehensive national network of museum development support.

There is no mechanistic formula for achieving a national network of museum development services. This stage will consider the following factors:

  • We do not want to deal with huge numbers of organisations so do not encourage county by county applications; neither do we envisage working with one organisation nationally running the programme, since the bids need to reflect local need (although we recognise that it would be theoretically possible to tailor local responsiveness within a larger bid).
  • Regional bids are encouraged and will be prioritised but we invite bids from organisations wishing to cover any geographic area - for example if an applicant wishes to make the case for the effectiveness and efficiency of a larger area-based proposal.
  • Given the opportunity of our wider remit, we encourage potential providers to include within their application scope for cross-cultural working (taking account of the shifting approach to cultural provision at a local authority level) and will give added consideration to applications which have done so.
  • As with all our funding streams, we will prioritise applications that show a wide reaching, empowering and inclusive approach.

This is a framework against which we will make an informed judgment about how each organisation might contribute to the overall network. There may be applications which are strong in the first stage assessment but which are not funded because in the second stage they do not fit into this overall picture.

Further information on how we make our decision is detailed in our guidance document which is available to download in PDF and Word formats.