Conservator Adam Smith at work at the Natural History Museum in Wollaton Hall, Nottingham

Art Fund launches funding scheme to support conservation

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 30.07.2019
Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 available to get objects out of storage
A new funding stream to support conservation in UK collections has been launched by the Art Fund.

The Conservation Grants programme will provide grants of £5,000 or more towards the remedial conservation of objects and public engagement activity associated with the conserved object, or the conservation process.

The scheme is designed to help give newly acquired works any conservation treatment they require and enable existing works to come out of storage and go on display.

The grants also aim to fund public engagement activities such as enhanced interpretation, sharing of research, loans and tours, professional development opportunities for staff and volunteers, and widening collections access.

Eleanor McGrath, the Art Fund’s head of grants, said the organisation was "really excited" to expand its grant-giving focus to help museums do more with their existing collections.

“The conservation needs of objects and works of art can be a costly barrier to getting things out of store, and on public view, and so we hope this funding will help museums identify high priority items in their collections that they want to do more with," she said.

“With emerging technical approaches possible and conservation potentially deepening our understanding of objects, we think the projects supported have high potential to excite audiences. We are looking forward to hearing about the creative ideas that museums have to engage people in this area of their work, whilst ensuring objects in need remain well cared for in future.”

The fund will prioritise works of art and other objects of artistic interest dating from antiquity to the present day, though applications will be considered for conservation of material or objects that do not fall into this category.

Applicants are asked to explain why the object they’d like to conserve is important or interesting to their organisation and audiences, and to highlight the potential for new opportunities that conservation might provide. The Art Fund expects most grants to be between £5,000 and £50,000, but says it will discuss exceptional projects that might exceed this on a case-by-case basis.

Small grants of between £5,000 and £15,000 can be applied for on a rolling basis. Grants of more than £15,000 will be generally available throughout the year via five application deadlines, the first of which falls in late August. Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Art Fund for more details.

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