Sources of funding for Museums at Night events

I’ve recently been asked about the sources of funding that are available to organisations wanting to run Museums at Night events, so I thought I’d share the information in one useful article.

A stack of pound coins spelling out the word MONEY

Money! Image shared under a Creative Commons licence by Flickr user Community Friend

Grants for the Arts

Any venue or consortia of venues thinking about taking part in Museums at Night in 2013 or beyond are encouraged to consider Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts funding programme.

Grants For The Arts are for activities carried out over a set period and which engage people in England in arts activities, and help artists and arts organisations in England carry out their work.

Grants For The Arts is funded by the National Lottery and works on an open application basis. If the application is for up to £10,000, a decision will be made within 6 weeks of submitting it.

Any type of venue can apply, including museums and libraries but your proposal must be for arts activity.

The Museums at Night festival is a great forum to try something different to attract audiences and present your venue in a different light. You could collaborate with any of a wide range of artists or arts organisations to create an innovative event or events.

Last year the Arts Council produced a video focusing on two events in Museums at Night; Bompas & Parr’s jelly-making collaboration with the ss Great Britain in Bristol and Bob and Roberta Smith’s intervention at the Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne. The film illustrates two great examples of arts activity in cultural venues.

You can read the full guidelines about Grants for the Arts on the Arts Council’s website. You can get further support and discuss your ideas with the Arts Council in advance of applying – this is recommended.

Want to discuss this opportunity with your team? Download our Grants for the Arts funding advice as a PDF.

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund funds projects which focus on heritage, promote benefits for the public and are not mainly for private gain. Culture24 gained funding for the 2012 Museums at Night clusters in North Lincolnshire and North Norfolk through the HLF Your Heritage fund: contact your local HLF office adviser before submitting an application.

Local council / Town Trust / community grants

Ask about these in your area: many are linked to from the Cabinet Office’s Funding Central website which lists over 4,000 sources of grants, contracts and loans. They’re not specific to the arts or heritage, but you can sign up for email alerts or RSS feeds that are relevant to your interests.

Worcestershire funding alerts

If your organisation is based in the county of Worcestershire, you can register with the Worcestershire Partnership to receive news alerts about local funding sources.

In-kind funding

Not every event will be able to secure sponsorship or funding, but if you can’t secure money, why not try asking for in-kind support from local businesses? Some arts and heritage organisations have successfully partnered with local media channels such as newspapers, blogs and radio stations to promote their events and raise the profile of their work in the community. Others have received food and drink, competition prizes, and even a set of torches to enable them to run torchlight tours: it never hurts to ask!

Crowd-funding your project online

Artist Emily Speed created a very useful resource for a-n, the Artists Information Company, explaining how crowd-funding online can potentially bring in revenue for creative projects.

What would you suggest?

Have you received funding towards an events programme or a specific Museums at Night event? Please share your tips and let us know what’s worked for you in the comments below!

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