Museums are going through an unprecedented difficult time at the moment with the impact of COVID-19. The Essex MDO, Museums Essex, and SHARE Museums East are all available to support museums in Essex through this difficult time, whether you decide to reopen or remain closed.

Please feel free to contact your MDO at any time for information and advice related to COVID-19 and reopening – even if it’s just for an informal chat to check in.


*UPDATED* Good Practice Guidance for Reopening Museums after 4th July 2020

Government guidance on reopening safely for heritage locations

Emergency funding

The Culture Recovery Fund through ACE and NLHF has now closed.

Funding to Support England’s Heritage Sector at Risk Due to COVID-19

The new £1 million programme is intended to help previously sustainable organisations that care for, work with, or manage historic buildings to fund consultancy support to develop new operating models and business plans, where the impact of COVID-19 means the organisation is at risk of no longer trading viably by March 2021. The funding aims to enable organisations to achieve a clear plan towards future financial viability and help them remain resilient during a challenging time. Grants of up to £50,000 per organisation are available with the aim of helping secure the building and the community’s interest in it.

The deadline for applications is 9 November 2020 (12pm).

Find out more.

Other funding

Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants have reopened with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021.

There are some key updates/changes for museums to be aware of: 

  • 10% match funding requirement has been removed
  •  applications from individuals welcomed (including time to think and plan)
  • will support research and development activity
  • keen to support organisational development activity
  • looking for activity that closely aligns with ACE Equality Objectives

Read the full guidance here. If you have any questions, or want to talk through an idea, please get in touch with me or the SHARE team so we can provide support. 

  • Art Fund Small Project Grants are open for applications to support museums to realise adventurous projects of up to £10,000.
  • The Foyle Foundation has reopened for applications to support charities with an arts or learning remit. Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available and applications can be submitted at any time. More on the Foyle Foundation website
  • The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund is adapting its offer for museums needing support with Covid related implications to continue enabling access to collections. More information on the Museums Association website.
  • Museums Essex has just launched their Small Grants Round 8 scheme – if you are a member of Museums Essex, find out more and apply here. Six grants of up to £500 are available to support museums with Covid-19 recovery.
  • Garfield Weston Foundation have an ongoing grant scheme to support UK charities. You can take their quick online eligibility quiz to find out if you are eligible. Their guidance for their schemes can be found here along with their FAQs. They can cover core running costs.

Other local funding opportunities might be available from the following:

Fundraising support from SHARE Museums East

Fundraising helpline with David Burgess

SHARE are funding David Burgess from Apollo Fundraising to have one-to-one hour long sessions with museums in the Accreditation scheme on their fundraising needs, providing advice and support. Email David with an outline of what you’d like to discuss, and he will arrange a free appointment with you (remotely). Email: and find out more on the SHARE website.

Online fundraising support

This SHARE 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. Example projects include setting up an online donations platform, creating a social media profile to promote fundraising, creating a website or single page, and design and creation of an electronic newsletter. 

See the SHARE website for full eligibility and guidance, and contact SHARE for support: