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COVID-19 Museum Development Fund

Local Authority museums, museums managed by ALEOs and University museums can apply for up to £60,000 to deliver projects that will help them build resilience and address some of the challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

About the fund

This project fund has been opened up for Accredited Scottish museums that have NOT been eligible for the Recovery & Resilience Fund.

With awards of up to £60,000 it will enable these organisations to undertake projects that will help them to build their resilience and start to address some of the challenges brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

It will operate in much the same way as our normal Museum Development Fund which means that you will be asked to tell us how your project will align with our grant outcomes (see below) and support you to take strategic steps forward.

Please note however, that we will prioritise applications for activity around responding to the challenges brought about by the pandemic and projects focussed on:

  • Re-engaging with communities
  • Developing digital capacity
  • Workforce capacity and resilience

What we can fund

We can fund a wide range of project activity. What is important is that whatever your planned activity, it will have a demonstrable impact on the resilience of your museum(s).

Please note our priorities above and our grant outcomes below that cover four areas – outcomes for collections, audiences, workforce and sustainability. This year we expect all projects to deliver against our outcomes for sustainability and against outcomes in at least one of the other three areas.

Remember however, that our interest is not in how many outcomes you deliver against but the extent to which you have aligned your project to deliver really well against some of them and to get maximum impact out of the funding opportunity.

As a result of MGS funding:

Outcomes for Collections

1.      Collections will be better managed and cared for 

2.      Collections knowledge will be developed and made more accessible

3.      There will be greater awareness of Scottish museum collections both within the UK and internationally

Outcomes for Audiences

4.      There will be a wider range of ways to access and engage with Scottish museum collections

5.      Education in Scotland will be enhanced by museum programmes

6.      A more diverse range of people will be engaging with museum collections

7.      The health and well being of individuals and communities will be enhanced through participation in Scottish museum activity

Outcomes for the Sector Workforce

8.      The Scottish museum sector will be supported by a more diverse and skilled workforce

9.      Scotland’s museums will develop more collaborative relationships to share resources and expertise

10.   Scottish museums will contribute to the development of the sector through innovative and ambitious practice and shared learning

Outcomes for Sustainability

11.   Scotland’s museums will be more sustainable because they exploit a more diverse range of funding sources

12.   There will be increased awareness of the positive contribution museums make to society amongst stakeholders and funders

13.   Scottish museums will become more resilient through stronger governance and strategic and financial planning

14.   Scotland’s museums will be operating in more environmentally sustainable ways



We can accept applications from organisations meeting all of the following criteria. They must:

  • Manage an Accredited Museum in Scotland
  • Not have been eligible for the Recovery and Resilience Fund
  • Not be in receipt of COVID response funding for your museums service directly from the Scottish Government


Applicants can apply for up to £60,000. There is no specific match funding requirement but in the interests of ensuring that our funds can support as many strong projects as possible, we are keen to see a financial contribution to the project from your organisation whenever this is possible. Match funding from other sources is also welcomed.

When to apply

There will be two rounds of funding before the end of the financial year (March 2021). All successful applicants must start their project within 3 months of receiving the award and will have 12 months within which to complete their project. They must submit their final claim within 2 months of project completion.

Closing date Award date
13 November 2020 (5PM) 18 January 2021
05 February 2021 (5PM) 12 March 2021

How to apply

Applicants should read this guidance thoroughly, including the information about our assessment criteria below, before starting an application.

Applicants should also contact MGS before starting an application to discuss ideas. You can contact our Grants team on 0131 550 4115 or at

Applicants must complete their application online. A PDF of the application form is below in Supporting Documents but this is for reference only.

Apply via MGS Online

Assessment criteria

Your application will be scored against how well it meets each of the following criteria and the score will determine whether or not your project can be awarded funding:


We will look at how well you have demonstrated the need for this project and the suitability of your chosen approach. We will be looking to see how the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has informed your project.


We will be looking at:

  • How well your project will deliver our grant outcomes.

This year we expect all projects to deliver against our outcomes for sustainability and outcomes in at least one of the other four areas (collections, audiences and workforce).

Beyond that, our interest is not in how many outcomes you deliver but in whether you have developed your project with the outcomes in mind. We want to see that you are making the most of these opportunities with our funding.

Do remember also, that we will ask you to measure and report back on delivery against your selected outcomes so do not be tempted to throw in ones that are tenuous and will therefore be too difficult to demonstrate.

  • to what extent the project will support your organisation to take strategic steps towards resilience in light of the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus pandemic


We will be looking for:

  • appropriate references to standards
  • demonstration of best practice
  • demonstration of efficient practice (e.g. where relevant have you considered a collaborative approach?)
  • maximum potential impact (e.g. where relevant has appropriate marketing been planned?)
  • long term impact beyond the life of the project itself
  • sharing of the benefits and knowledge gained with the wider sector


We will be looking for evidence that your project can be delivered on time, to budget and to specified standards.


Our grants team are available via:
Telephone: 0131 550 4115