John Ellerman Foundation

Museums and Galleries Fund: August 2018

Museums and galleries are a means by which people engage with arts and heritage. Many regional institutions hold important collections which have the power to inspire creativity, motivate artistic expression and stimulate local regeneration. In the current climate they face increasing challenges from funding cuts and curatorial under-provision, reducing their scope to research and display collections and create new exhibitions.


The Fund aims to help strengthen regional museums and galleries in the UK. We want to help organisations enhance and sustain curatorial development to attract a broader public.

We have earmarked around £0.5m to be awarded through the Fund in 2019. We expect to make no more than five or six grants for periods of two to three years. While the average grant size is ca. £86k we will consider higher amounts for exceptional projects.

What we will fund

We are keen to fund work which has a legacy within and beyond the organisation. We are particularly interested in applications which: 

  • enable new ways of working both for established curators and those just starting out or 
  • ensure organisations are able to safeguard and advance curatorial skills through a time of development or change

Who can apply

We focus on visual and decorative arts and social and natural history collections. The applicant should demonstrate: 

  • excellence in their field at a national level 
  • national significance, usually through a unique or high quality collection

In line with our general policy, we favour organisations with an income between £100,000 and £10m, but may fund a larger institution if it is uniquely placed to meet our aim. Local authority museums are also eligible. While our priority is small to medium-sized museums and galleries outside of London, national and/or London-based institutions may also apply if their project brings significant benefits in the regions. We are particularly interested in receiving applications from those areas where we have made fewer grants.

The organisation applying must be able to demonstrate the following: 

  • an emphasis on the value of curatorial skills 
  • proven experience of and enthusiasm for working in partnership 
  • a commitment to excellence and innovation 
  • strong leadership and commitment from senior management, board or governing body
  • effective financial management 
  • the difference a grant would make, to the organisation, the general public or other audiences

What we do not fund: 

  • individual conservation projects (but we may consider conservation work as part of a wider request) 
  • education and outreach work

Applying to the Fund

As for all other applications, we have a two-stage process. First-stage applications must be received by5pm on Monday 3 December 2018. We expect to make decisions in spring 2019, so you should plan for the work funded by a grant to start from or after June 2019.

Stage 1 Your first-stage application should include:
1. A description of what you are seeking funding for, on no more than two sides of A4. Please include:  a brief description of your organisation, and relevant track record  the nature of your collection, and why it has national significance  what you would like us to fund, including (where possible) a specific amount and number of years for which funding is sought  how your proposal matches what we fund and are looking for (see above).
2. Financial information: If you are a charity, a copy of your most recent annual accounts. If you are part of a larger organisation (such as a university or local authority) please provide an income and expenditure statement for the running costs of your department or unit.
If your accounts show a significant surplus or deficit, high or low reserves, please explain this briefly. If the year-end date of your accounts is more than 10 months old, please include your latest management accounts.

You can send your first-stage application by e-mail:

Stage 2 If we invite you to apply for the second stage, we will ask for a more detailed application, and arrange to meet you to find out more about you and your work.