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Funding Overview

Funding Overview

Museums Galleries Scotland distributes funding from the Scottish Government to support development in Scottish museums. The funding is allocated through grants to project activity which delivers outcomes that directly align with Going Further: The National Strategy for Scotland’s Museums and Galleries and with the development plans of the individual museum.

Grant Outcomes

We want our funding to help Scottish museums to develop their work in four key areas. We expect that most of the projects we fund will have an impact in more than one of these areas:

  • Collections
  • Audience Engagement
  • Workforce development
  • Sustainability

We ask applicants to tell us which of the above outcomes their project will deliver and how. The full set of outcomes are downloadable as a PDF here.

Alignment with the aims of Going Further

Our set of grant outcomes are based on the aims and objectives of Going Further and have been developed to map directly back to them as well (as to the objectives of the Recognition Scheme). This means that as an applicant developing a project, all you need to do is explore and identify how your project can deliver against the above set of outcomes alone. This should make the application simpler but it will still be clear, to you and to us as funders, how your project aligns with the National Strategy.

Our Funding Programme

The majority of our investment in the sector is distributed through two funds:

Small Project Fund

Grants of between £500 and £10,000 are available to support Accredited Scottish museums to deliver small projects. MGS grants can fund up to 100% of the project costs. There are three rounds of this fund in 2020/21. Click here for further details on the Small Project Fund.

Closing date

Award date

20 February (5PM)

2 April

28 May (5PM)

15 July

24 September (5PM)

5 November

Museums Development Fund

Grants of between £10,000 and £40,000 are available to support Accredited Scottish museums (or museums working in partnership with Accredited museums on projects in which the main benefits are for Accredited museums) to make strategic steps forward. MGS grants can fund up to 100% of the project costs. There are two rounds of this fund in 2020/21. Click here for further details on the Museum Development Fund.

Closing date

Award date

23 April (5PM)

18 June

08 October (5PM)

10 December


In addition to these two funds, we run the following:

Equipment Fund

This fund is there to support accredited independent or regimental museums that are NOT “nationally-styled”to make small equipment purchases.  Click here for further details on the Equipment Fund.

Festivals Fund

This fund is designed to help museums participate in local or regional events or festivals so that they can develop connections and relationships which will help them to reach wider audiences. There are four rounds of this fund in 2020/21. Click here for further details on the Festivals Fund

Closing date

Award date

6 February (5PM)

19 March

30 April (5PM)

11 June

18 June (5PM)

30 July

8 October (5PM)

10 December

4 February 2021 (5PM)

18 March

Subject Specialist Network Travel Bursary

The fund will enable Scottish Museums to access the benefits of ongoing participation in Subject Specialist Networks by funding the travel and accommodation for a member of staff or speaker to attend a Subject Specialist Network event. Click here for further details on the Subject Specialist Network Travel Bursary. 

Funding for Recognised Collections

Funding which is ring-fenced for Recognised Collection holders is distributed through the Museum Development Fund. Organisations that are eligible to apply for Recognition Funding should make sure that their project delivers at least one of the starred outcomes. These applicants also have the option to apply for 100% funding from that fund and for up to £60,000 twice a year.

Funding for Non-Accredited Museums

The majority of our funding is available only to Accredited museums. However, small amounts of funding are available to museums that are working towards Accreditation to support them to reach the standard. These organisations can apply for up to £1,500. They can apply for £1,500 all in one go or for smaller grants adding up to £1,500. However, once they have received £1,500 they will not be eligible for any further funds until they have achieved Accreditation. To be eligible for this fund, you must have completed the eligibility questionnaire for Accreditation, be confirmed as eligible and awarded a temporary Accreditation number. Applications can be submitted at any time.

Click here for further details on the Achieving Accreditation Fund.

Support for Making an Application

If you have any questions about the 2020/21 funding programme or would like to get advice on applications you are considering making, you can contact our Grants Team at any time at or on 0131 550 4115. However, we do also run telephone surgeries at various stages in the year where you can book in for a longer conversation. These are taking place on the following dates 22 and 23 of January, 19 and 20 February, and 26 and 27 August 2020 and you can book a slot on our event pages.

Making an Application 

Applications should be made through MGS Online. Full details about the individual funds and how to apply can be found on our Funding page

Eligible applicants will normally be limited to receiving a maximum of two grants from the Museum Development Fund per year.

Grants awarded by MGS (note 9)

MGS Grants awarded 2015-16 (PDF, 211KB) MGS Grants awarded 2016-17 (PDF, 443KB) MGS Grants awarded 2017-18 (PDF, 382KB) MGS Grants Awarded 2018-19 (PDF, 169KB)