Helping museums adapt to post-Covid age

Art Fund is offering grants from a new £2m fund to help museums transform following the pandemic.

The fund’s “Reimagine” grants are available until July 5 for museums and galleries to adapt what they do, build new expertise and capacity, and make connections in and beyond the sector. There will be further rounds of grants from the fund in August and October.

Museums, galleries, historic houses, arts-focused archives, libraries, festivals, biennials and a range of networks can apply for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000.

Jenny Waldman, Art Fund Director said: “Museums have endured their toughest year in living memory and have done incredible work in reopening safely and welcoming back visitors” said Art Fund’s director Jenny Waldman. “Art Fund is once again responding rapidly to their evolving needs, and through the exceptional generosity of our members and supporters we’re delighted to allocate £2 million in 2021 to our new Reimagine grants.  I would encourage all organisations with creative ideas for a sustainable future to consider applying.”

Art Fund is also giving £175,000 to Museum Development UK (MDUK) for distribution to small and medium-sized museums to support on-going recovery from the pandemic, match-funded by MDUK.

Last year there were applications to Art Fund’s Respond & Reimagine Fund from 451 organisations which bids worth a total of £16.9m, but only 67 could be supported with £2.25 million in grants.

The response funding enabled museums to reopen safely, reach new audiences and contribute to community and wellbeing. Highlights include:

  • Ceredigion Museum’s Human Threads project in Aberystwyth which brought together members of the community to record their experiences of Covid-19 (pictured);
  • A major health and wellbeing initiative at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham addressing Covid’s mental health crisis directly through a pioneering partnership with the university’s medical college – including welcoming a nurse-in-residence to the museum;
  • A newly recruited bilingual digital engagement officer at Museum nan Eilean in Stornoway to attract new audiences; and
  • Bradford’s Impressions Gallery creating outdoor capsule exhibitions in the city centre alongside their online offering.

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