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Small Grants Fund

Apply for up to £15,000 towards support for museums to get back on track with activity whilst still dealing with COVID-related financial challenges.

About the fund

This first round of the MGS Small Grants fund will focus on supporting accredited museums to get back on track after an extremely difficult year.  With finances hit by loss of income and continuing uncertainty about visitor numbers for the coming year we understand that there will be a wide variety of needs and have tried to make this programme as flexible as possible. 

This fund will therefore cover small-scale project activity, as well as resource and activity that is not project based, providing it will deliver outcomes in one or more of these areas:

  • Building organisational resilience
  • Re-engaging with audiences
  • Critical repairs and maintenance
  • Environmental sustainability

Please note that there will be further rounds of this fund announced later in the year.

Who can apply for this funding?

Any organisation that runs an Accredited Museum in Scotland can apply. We are not currently able to accept applications from non-Accredited museums or those with ‘working towards’ Accreditation status. (Non-Accredited Museums looking for support to re-open can apply to our COVID-19 Adaptation Fund.) 

Partnership applications are welcome and we can accept applications from formally constituted groups of museums with their own bank accounts.

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 starts to recover 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 and management.

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 plant 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
  • 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


  • You can apply for any amount between £300 and £15,000.
  • You can only submit one application for this deadline but there will be an opportunity to apply again later in the year if necessary.
  • 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, please discuss this with us before starting your application.

When to apply

The first round of funding will open for applications from 30 April and the final submission deadline will be 5pm on Friday 11 June.

Decisions on awards will be made by 23 July.

How to apply

Read the applicant guidance and contact the Grants Team to discuss your proposal before starting to complete an application.

Please submit your application via MGS online.

The applicant guidance and a PDF version of the application form for reference can be found at the bottom of this page.

Contact details:

Telephone: 0131 550 4115

Apply via MGS Online

Assessment criteria

Please see the applicant guidance for full information on what questions we will ask, but you should be aware that we will be assessing your application based on:

  • Financial need: if you have sufficient funds to cover the proposed costs yourself, your application will not be prioritised.
  • How well you can show that your proposal is based on evidence of need and support.
  • 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.
  • Accuracy of budget, with all costs based on quotes or other evidence.
  • Your delivery plan, which should be sufficiently detailed and achievable.
  • Where relevant, how your proposal builds on any previous funding you may have received from us.

The applicant guidance will be made available at the bottom of this page when the fund opens for applications on 30 April.


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