New emergency government funding available through ACE and NLHF

For Accredited museums (including Provisional and Working Towards) and NPOs

ACE Culture Recovery Fund guidance has been published with grants of up to £3m available with a minimum application of £50,000 for organisations at imminent risk of failure this financial year. See the ACE published guidance to see if this particular scheme applies to you.

Round 1: opens 10 August, closes midday 21 August – you are strongly encouraged to apply for the first round as ACE anticipate giving away 75% of their budget on this first round.

Round 2: opens 21 August, closes midday 4 September

If you think you will apply, please register on Grantium now if you haven’t already.

Eligibility – cultural organisations that are properly constituted and registered at Companies House and/or Charity Commission and can produce at least one year’s full independently certified or audited financial statements. This includes NPOs, and museums in the accreditation scheme (full, provisional and officially working towards Accreditation). It also includes local authorities, universities and other public bodies who run or maintain cultural services. See the guidance for more information. Library services are not eligible to apply.

You will be required to demonstrate cultural significance or cultural opportunity and a commitment to diversifying workforce and audiences.

For amounts less than £50,000 you can apply for Arts Council Project Grants instead which have recently reopened. The guidance has been adjusted to be more responsive to organisations and individuals during Covid-19.

Please let me know if you are going to put in an application, and I encourage you to share the draft application and project ideas with me and/or SHARE Museums East (sharemuseumseast@norfolk.gov.uk) in good time prior to the deadline so that we can offer feedback to strengthen applications – this is part of our remit, to support museums to write effective bids.

For non-accredited museums and heritage sites:

National Lottery Heritage Fund: Culture Recovery Fund – deadline midday 17 August

Applications open on Thursday 30 July for the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, which will help heritage organisations recover from the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is providing £92m with grants from £10,000 up to £3m available for heritage organisations in England.

Full guidance and eligibility can be found on the NLHF website. Accredited museums and those working towards accreditation should instead apply to the Culture Recovery Fund through Arts Council England.

Please note – the fund is designed to support heritage organisations that are at risk of no longer trading viably this financial year. If you meet the following Essential Criteria, please get in touch and we can discuss your application:

Essential Criteria

You should only apply for this funding if you are able to meet all of the essential criteria:

  • you must have been financially viable before COVID-19 (March 2020)
  • you are at risk of no longer trading viably by the end of this financial year
  • you can demonstrate that you have exhausted all other financing options. For example, applying for other emergency funds, reducing costs, diversifying income streams or taking advantage of government easements
  • you have a clear plan towards future financial viability

Please let me know asap if you are going to put in an application, and I encourage you to share an early draft application and project ideas with me so that I can provide feedback on the draft and seek further advice on your behalf if we need to.

Fundraising support available for Accredited/WTA museums – a reminder!

David Burgess – fundraising helpline

For the rest of the year, SHARE are funding David Burgess from Apollo Fundraising to have one-to-one hour long sessions with museums on their fundraising needs, providing advice and support. You can email him with an outline of what you’d like to discuss, and he will arrange a free appointment with you (remotely). Email: david.burgess@apollofundraising.com and find out more on the SHARE Museums East website.

I’ve just been to the SHARE coffee morning with David, and it was incredibly useful. He can also advise on bids which have any kind of fundraising angle, for example, he is particularly knowledgeable on contactless donation points.

If anyone is applying to the SHARE Next Steps grant and your application has a fundraising angle, SHARE will expect that you have had a chat with David.

Online fundraising support

This SHARE scheme is for museums facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. SHARE will fund and coordinate work that directly supports online fundraising for museums, through experienced web designers Starfish.

Examples of projects that they will fund include:

  • Setting up an online donations platform (e.g. JustGiving)
  • Creating a social media profile to promote fundraising
  • Creating a website or single page that directly supports or links to online fundraising
  • Design and creation of an electronic newsletter to support fundraising

See the SHARE website for full eligibility and guidance, and contact SHARE for support: sharemuseumseast@norfolk.gov.uk

Upcoming funding from central government

A reminder that there is a new £1.57bn support fund for heritage and the arts from central government. It looks likely some of this funding will be available to museums and other cultural organisations via Arts Council England. More details on this will be available shortly, but in the meantime, if there is a chance you might like to apply, then you may need to take action now..

  • To apply for this funding you will need to have a user account and an applicant profile on Grantium, ACE’s online applications system.
  • If you have applied for Accreditation since 2018 you may have a Grantium profile already. However, do check who has the login details in case it’s someone who is not around.
  • You can find guidance on the ACE website or follow this link. Any problems, please let me know.

SHARE also have free helplines for audience development, business support and volunteer management at this time, so do make use of them if this would be helpful: SHARE helplines.

If you are planning on submitting a funding application then please do let me and/or SHARE know as we can support you in the planning and writing to ensure your bid has a good chance of success.

Support available for COVID-19 impact – update

An update on support available at the moment, whether you are reopening or remaining closed.

Guidance

  • Additional guidance from the government has been released on working safely in heritage locations.
  • EMBED and the Disability Collaborative Network have released guidance created to support organisations in decision making when reopening, considering potential barriers faced by disabled visitors, and offering solutions-based guidance.

Support from SHARE

Events and training

SHARE are running coffee mornings (open to all) for museums to hear from experts and share their own concerns and ask questions. Topics include marketing and communications, family friendly reopening and fundraising. Find out more and book on Eventbrite.

SHARE are also running two online workshops:

Introduction to timed entry booking systems for museums.
Trainer: Nick Kime, Tech Champion, Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England. Get to grips with the basics of setting up a ticketing system – from comparing the different platforms, to NHS Test and Trace and GDPR.
Wednesday 5 August, 14:00 – 15:30 Book here
Wednesday 16 September, 10:30 – 12:00 Book here

The workshops are free and open to museums in the accreditations scheme (full and working towards). If you are not in the accreditation scheme, you can still book, but with the acknowledgement that SHARE will facilitate your attendance if availability permits and that your organisation will pay any fees which may apply.

Online fundraising

The online fundraising scheme is for museums in the accreditation scheme facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. SHARE will fund and coordinate work that directly supports online fundraising for museums, through experienced web designers Starfish.

Examples of projects they will fund include:

  • Setting up an online donations platform (e.g. JustGiving)
  • Creating a social media profile to promote fundraising
  • Creating a website or single page that directly supports or links to online fundraising
  • Design and creation of an electronic newsletter to support fundraising

For full details of how to apply, and what information you need to provide, see the online fundraising scheme section of the SHARE website.

Funding

SHARE has launched Next Steps Grants to support museums, whether planning to reopen to the public or choosing to remain closed, thanks to support from the Art Fund. You can apply for up to £5,000. Full eligibility criteria and guidance can be found on the SHARE website. Deadline: midday 31 July 2020.

More information, including on potential funding sources to support your museum, can be found on the COVID-19 resources section of this website.

Upcoming SHARE training workshops on timed entry booking systems

ONLINE WORKSHOP: Introduction to timed entry booking systems for museums

Trainer: Nick Kime, Tech Champion, Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England

Get to grips with the basics of setting up a ticketing system – from comparing the different platforms, to NHS Test and Trace and GDPR.

Wednesday 5 August, 14:00 – 15:30 Book here

Wednesday 16 September, 10:30 – 12:00 Book here

The workshops are free and open to museums in the accreditations scheme (full and working towards). If you are not in the accreditation scheme, you can still book, but with the acknowledgement that SHARE will facilitate your attendance if availability permits and that your organisation will pay any fees which may apply.

Keep up to date on SHARE events, including their coffee mornings with experts (open to all), on their Eventbrite page.

SHARE Museums East launch Next Steps Grants

SHARE has launched Next Steps Grants to support museums, whether planning to reopen to the public or choosing to remain closed, thanks to support from the Art Fund. 

The grants are available to:

  • Support effective reopening
  • Develop sustainable and resilient museums
  • Meet audience needs

Maximum grant available: £5,000

Eligibility: You must be a museum in the East of England within the ACE Accreditation scheme (including provisional and officially Working Towards) which is not also an ACE National Portfolio Organisation or a National museum. You will also be expected to have the support of your county MDO and to have utilised SHARE’s free specialist helplines before planning your application. 

Deadline: Midday, 31 July 2020 

For full eligibility criteria, guidance and an application form, please see the Next Steps section on the SHARE website. Do keep me posted if you are thinking of applying!

Spotlight on…Brightlingsea Museum

We talk to the Curator of Brightlingsea Museum, Margaret Stone, about their ambitious relocation project, installing displays in lockdown and the new voices and objects they have been able to include.

Image shows the new interior of Brightlingsea Museum, with interpretation panels and a small boat.

For anyone who hasn’t visited Brightlingsea Museum before – what’s it all about?

It’s about the story of Brightlingsea’s heritage – something that has been strongly influenced by its position at the mouth of the River Colne, close to the North Sea but with a sheltered harbour. This probably led to the town becoming a Limb of the Cinque Port of Sandwich, a special and unique association as we are the only member of this ancient organisation north of the Thames.

With easy access to the sea and surrounding creeks these were excellent conditions for centuries of oyster dredging and fishing, especially stowboating – catching sprats in specially adapted nets.

The sheltered harbour was to play its part in the defence of our country, from the times of Henry VIII and again during both World Wars when Brightlingsea was a busy Naval Base – even our mud was to provide ideal conditions to train British and Anzac Engineers for action on the Western Front in the Great War.

Interwoven with all of this activity is a long history of shipbuilding and the heyday of huge sailing and steam yachts in the hundred years leading up to the second World War when Brightlingsea fishermen used their skills to crew some of the fastest yachts of their day – including in the America’s Cup.

You’ve recently undergone a huge transformation project – how did this come about?

The Museum first opened in 1989, renting space in a Victorian building that had been a Reading Room since the late 1890s.  The museum soon became popular, visitor numbers increased and so did the collections of objects and images.  The building was difficult to access – steep steps and stairs.  The construction of the building made it difficult to heat and maintain a suitable environment, and it just was not big enough.

Sadly in 2013 Claude Dove, our founding Chairman died, but to our amazement he left a substantial bequest to the museum.  The local Police Station came on the market in 2015, which we were able to purchase and then make alterations and add an extension.

How has lockdown affected your plans?

When lockdown was ordered we were just starting the process of installing exhibitions ready to have a week of opening events in mid-May.  As lockdown eased, we carefully started working again, but progress has been slow, consequently we are many weeks behind schedule, and do not envisage being ready to open until at least late August. 

All plans of a grand opening are of course out of the question, and we are even having to consider whether the many interactives we had so enthusiastically planned will be suitable in the current ‘Coronavirus climate’.  However, we will be looking at having a celebration event next year.

How is the new space taking shape?

After building and refurbishment of our newly acquired premises was completed, we and our many supporters were so impressed with the amazing space for the exhibitions, a real wow factor!  With some stunning plans for our new exhibition (with thanks to our design team from Maltings Partnership), the carpenter moved in creating structures. ‘Losing’ that great space I thought the wow factor would also be lost, but the reverse was the case.  Now with most of the images and text in place we can see how our visitors will be led on a journey of discovery about Brightlingsea.

Employment of our professional designers, Maltings Partnership, which has resulted in the provision of exciting and informative displays, interactives and audio/visual effects would not have been possible without the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Essex County Council’s Community Initiative Fund and many other organisations.

Is there anything you would do differently if you did this relocation project again?

I did learn early on that we take ideas and suggestions from a wide range of people, but when it comes to decisions we keep this to a small tight group, with a balanced view of the museum’s themes – not with a passionate interest in one particular area.  Although subject enthusiasts are vital for research and checking material.

Our design team have been so good to work with.  However, if I were to do this again when fine-tuning plans, I would want to know more about preparation work that we (all volunteers) would need to do.  Fortunately we have some really skilled volunteers on hand to help with some of the more practical tasks – preparing walls for vinyls, painting and even light engineering, if we had needed to bring in contractors our budgets would have been under pressure.

What have you enjoyed the most about the process?

Enthusiasm! Whether, from those actively involved with the project, visitors on occasional open days, people who stop us in the street wanting to know how it’s going, local fishermen bringing in special treasures or telling us about their experiences, the interest and enthusiasm is almost tangible.

Have you been able to display a particular object or collection that you couldn’t previously?

Where do I start? We have so much on display that has not been seen before – letters, autograph books, tools in such an amazing and imaginative display about shipyard skills.  Voices and projections, and a wonderful isometric drawing of the Waterside in 1892 – we just did not have the space for it in our old premises.

We have a temporary exhibition space, but to make sure there is always something for visitors to see we have an A – Z of Brightlingsea on the walls. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to involve a large number of volunteers as we asked for their suggestions. We were able to include some of the town’s heritage that perhaps does not come under ’maritime’ – some interesting residents from the past, the Live Animal export demonstrations in 1995, some of the birds visiting the creeks and salt marsh and even Joan Collins. Want to know how? Then you will have to visit us!

When we have a temporary exhibition the A – Z is covered so we are looking at another way we can have this available.

Visitors can expect to be fascinated, amused, surprised and even sad.  They will discover, watch, listen, and empathise. They will want to come back!

What are your hopes for Brightlingsea Museum for 2021 and beyond?

It is essential that the museum is seen as a vital part of the community. We will do this by having a range of activities and opportunities, not just for individuals and families, but also other organisations, to encourage a sense of ownership. It is their museum – not ours!

We also see the museum as a quality visitor attraction not just for Brightlingsea, but the wider area, and we will not only be encouraging visitors to the museum but to also explore the town. We have already started working with our Town Council and businesses in the town and are hoping to build an ethos of co-operation between us that will ultimately benefit the town as a whole.

All these ambitions are only possible if we continue to develop our service to the wider community – providing regular temporary exhibitions, resources for study (both formal and informal) and activities for a range of interests and needs for all ages and we are receptive to suggestions. Always keeping our budgets in mind – if we must be financially viable.

You can find out more about Brightlingsea Museum on their website or follow them on Twitter.

Arts Council Project Grants reopen on 22 July

Arts Council are shortly resuming their Project Grant scheme which will open for applications on 22 July.

They have made some improvements to make the fund more responsive to the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners during Covid-19.

The programme has been prioritised for reopening to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible.

Updated guidance for the programme will be published by mid-July. 

Do let me know if you are thinking of applying, and if I can support with the application. I can also put you in touch with Liam Wiseman, relationship manager for the South East at Arts Council, for a discussion about your potential application.

Snapping the Stiletto 2 – now recruiting!

Following the success of the Essex based Snapping the Stiletto project, another round of funding has enabled a second phase. ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ was a two year project exploring how Essex women’s lives have changed since 1918. The next phase will amplify and surface BAME and LGBTQ+ women’s stories and collections through community activities. 

The project is currently recruiting for two fixed term positions – please do share with anyone who may be interested.

Closing date: 7 July. The roles will be based at Essex County Council. More information, including how you can get involved in Snapping the Stiletto 2, will be available soon. 

Are you planning to reopen your museum this year? We need your help…

SHARE Museums East needs to know how many museums in our region are planning to reopen this year. Fill in this super-quick, one-question survey to help us plan what grants and support are needed. Click here to answer the questions.

*Please note – there was a glitch with the survey reported to us early on, and we have since corrected it. Please try again if you didn’t complete it before.

In case you missed it, there is news about the upcoming guidance on reopening museums, as well as details of some new grant schemes, in our most recent newsletter. Click here for more information.