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.


Good Practice Guidance for Reopening Museums after 4th July 2020

Government guidance on reopening safely for heritage locations

Emergency funding

ACE Culture Recovery Grants (for museums in the Accreditation scheme) and NLHF and Historic England Culture Recovery Grants (for non-Accredited museums and heritage sites are available to support organisations at imminent risk of failure this financial year. Minimum grant of £50,000 up to £3m. 

For amounts less than £50,000 you could be eligible to apply for Arts Council Project Grants instead. 

Please let me know asap if you thinking about putting in an application so I can offer the appropriate support and provide early feedback. 

Other Covid-19 related 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 Respond and Reimagine grants are available to support museums with evolving projects and needs to respond to the Covid crisis, two funding rounds are still available to apply for between now and October. 
  • The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund is open and adapting its offer for museums needing support with Covid related implications to continue enabling access to collections. There are two streams available, the first closing for expressions of interest on 14 September 2020, and the second which will invite expressions of interest in 2021. More information, including who to speak to, can be found here on the Museums Association website.
  • Museums Essex will soon be launching theirnextSmall Grants Scheme, so watch this space. You need to be a member of Museums Essex to apply, but do not need to be in the accreditation scheme. 
  • Tru Vue® Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme – a grant to support conservation and care of collections teams to deliver projects that will address post lockdown challenges. Projects could protect an object or objects already on display in order to reduce physical contact by members of the public or enable an object that is not currently on display to be presented to visitors in a safe way. Find out more on the Icon website

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: