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Small Grants Fund

Apply for up to £15,000 to support activity to re-engage audiences, build resilience and environmental sustainability or to address critical repairs and maintenance (including collections management work).

About the fund

The Small Grants Fund provides support for small scale project activity but it is also there to support any Accredited museums struggling to meet critical, non-project costs due to the depletion of reserves or budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It cannot support core-operating costs but it can support essential repairs, maintenance and resources. It can also support activity that is about recovering visitor numbers, management of collections, building resilience or reducing costs (including through improving environmental sustainability). 

Who can apply for this funding?

Any organisation that runs an Accredited Museum in Scotland. 

Partnership applications are welcome and we can accept applications from formally constituted groups of museums with their own bank accounts or from an Accredited museum applying on behalf of the partnership.

Organisations that have been issued with a temporary Accreditation number having gone through the formal “Working Towards Accreditation” eligibility process are eligible to apply for up to £5,000. (Please note that the Working Towards Accreditation eligibility process is not the same as the grant eligibility process that MGS operated for Covid related funding in 2020 and 2021. If you have been through the WTA process you will already have a temporary Accreditation number and provisional deadline for submitting your application for full Accreditation. For more information about Accreditation, click here )

What we can fund

This fund is designed to be flexible so that it can respond to the changing needs of the sector as it recovers from the impacts of the pandemic. It will support small scale project activity, but it can also support resource and activity that is not project based, providing they will have impact in any of the following areas:

Activity that will build operational resilience. This could cover costs such as:

  • staff and volunteer training;
  • specialist support to review areas of your operation;
  • implementation of proposals to diversify income or to improve income generation from retail or other opportunities;
  • any other activity that aims to leave your museum in a better position to cope with changed financial or operational circumstances.

Activity to re-engage with communities and audiences. This could cover costs such as:

  • resources and equipment for engagement projects;
  • updates and improvements to existing displays;
  • new exhibitions or events;
  • improving digital access;
  • marketing campaigns;
  • audience development research;
  • or other ways of increasing or improving engagement with your collections.

Critical repairs and maintenance that you cannot afford to carry out. This could cover costs such as:

  • urgent repairs to buildings and facilities;
  • urgent collections conservation;
  • improvements to collections storage, management and care.

Activity to improve environmental sustainability. This could cover costs such as:

  • upgrading heating or lighting to more energy efficient systems;
  • installing solar panels, air source heat pumps or other plans that will improve energy performance and reduce running costs;
  • installing double glazing, insulation or other measures to reduce energy loss.

What we can't fund

  • Core operating costs
  • Full cost recovery (we will only fund staff costs where it is clear that they will be working additional hours to deliver the funded activity)
  • Small contributions to much larger projects. If you are applying for a contribution towards a bigger project we would expect our grant to cover at least 20% of the costs. If our grant would end up being a smaller percentage we would advise applicants to consider identifying a sub project within the larger project for which to apply to the Small Grants Fund. Please discuss this with the MGS Grants Team prior to starting an application.
  • Acquisitions of collections
  • Work that has already started, or will start before our published decision date, other than preparatory work to identify scope
  • Any more than 5% contingency

Grant sizes, Award Numbers and Timescales

  • You can apply for any amount between £300 and £15,000 (£5,000 for applicants with WTA status)
  • We will normally only accept one application per organisation per round and are unlikely to award more than two Small Grants to any one organisation across the three rounds this year. Please note that in the interests of fair distribution of funds we will take into account organisation size and previous grants to your organisation when assessing your application.
  • The funding can cover activity for up to one year from the date of the award but, if you have a clear rationale for needing slightly longer than 12 months to use a grant, please discuss this with us before starting your application.
  • You can apply for 100% of the total cost, although we are keen to see a financial contribution wherever possible to ensure that limited funds can support as many museums as possible.

When to apply

There will be three rounds in 2022/23:


Application deadline

Award announcements

Round 1

1 July 2022 5pm

12 August 2022

Round 2

30 September 2022 5pm

11 November 2022

Round 3

27 January 2023 5pm

10 March 2023


Round 2 is now open for applications. A PDF of the application form is available in the Supporting Documents section at the bottom of this page. This is for reference only, all applications must be submitted online, please see the next section “How to apply”.

How to apply

  • Read the applicant guidance on this page carefully, particularly the information about our assessment criteria and the information about how to complete your application form provided in the Supporting Documents section below (available from 2 May).
  • Contact the MGS Grants Team to discuss your proposal before starting to complete an application.
  • Complete your application in MGS Online. A PDF of the application form will be available from the supporting Documents section below from 2 May 2022. This is for reference only, all applications must be submitted online.
Apply via MGS Online

Assessment criteria

We will assess your application against the following criteria. Please also refer to the guidance in the Supporting Documents section where we give more information about how to make your case against these criteria.

  • Financial need: If you have sufficient funds to cover the proposed costs yourself, your application will not be prioritised.
  • Need and demand for your activity: You will need to tell us what issue you are seeking to address, providing evidence wherever possible (eg. visitor feedback, environmental monitoring readings) and explain why this is the most appropriate solution to addressing that issue, providing evidence wherever possible (eg. expert advice or consultation findings.
  • Impact: How well your proposal will deliver a positive impact in any one of the areas listed above under “what we will fund”. Please note that potential to deliver strong impact in one area is more important than trying to deliver little impact in many areas.
  • Deliverability: We will consider accuracy of budget, with all costs based on quotes or other evidence and whether your activity planning shows that your activity is achievable.
  • Where relevant, how your proposal builds on any previous funding you may have received from us.


Our Grants Team are available on:
Telephone: 0131 550 4115