Lancaster Museum © Victoria Smith

Reset grants and programmes

Since 2020, MDUK and The Art Fund have forged a new partnership to distribute funding to museums across the UK following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recovery and reset grants and programmes are administrated by the UK-wide Museum Development providers comprising; Museum Development England (partnership of nine English regional MD programmes, funded by Arts Council England); Museums Galleries Scotland; the Welsh Government (assisted in 2020 by the Federation of Museums and Arts Galleries); and Northern Ireland Museums Council.

The priority for the initiative is to support the recovery phase of small to medium sized museums. These museums are often located in areas of low cultural engagement; the main cultural offer in a locality; or based in urban areas with niche collections and specific cultural offers outside large city institutions.

Recovery and reset grants and programmes are awarded at the discretion of Museum Development providers based on urgency of need, project description and research, understanding of audience needs, track record of managing funds, value for money, evidence of strategic planning, organisational sustainability, and impact on communities.

The Art Fund contributed £280,000 in 2020, £175,000 in 2021 and £200,000 in 2022 to MDUK to support Recovery / Reset Grants and Programmes. MDUK has matched funded this with over £782,000 across the three years.

In 2020, 156 museums across all nations of the UK benefitted from these Recovery Grants. A report on awards and grant distribution from 2020 is available here and our final evaluation report is here.

In 2021, programmes launched in July 2021 with funding allocated by December 2021. For full details of how funding was allocated, click here.

In 2022 Art Fund contributed £200,000 and MDUK matched the grant by £137,838 making a total of £337,438 recovery support available to museums. Of the 106 museums that applied for grants in England and Northern Ireland, 76 were awarded funding. In Wales and Scotland, a further 19 museums benefitted from recovery training and development programmes.