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Small Project Fund

Apply for up to £10,000 towards the cost of a small project that will help your museum to develop.

About the fund

This fund is designed to support museums to carry out small projects in line with their own continuous improvement goals and the aims of the National Strategy.

We will fund discrete projects that are additional to your core work and /or allow you to try something new.

What we can fund

We can fund a wide range of activities. What is key for us is that your project will have a clear and measurable impact for your collections, audiences, workforce and/or your museum's sustainability in line with our National Strategy.

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

* These outcomes also align with the objectives of the Recognition scheme


Any organisation that runs an Accredited Museum in Scotland can apply.

(N.B. Applications from partnerships are welcomed, but must be submitted by a partner organisation that runs an Accredited museum. In all instances Accredited museums must be the main beneficiaries of the funding.)


Organisations running Accredited museums can apply for £500 up to £10,000. 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 are three rounds of funding in financial year 2020/21. All successful applicants must start their project within 6 months of receiving the award and will have one year within which to complete their project. They must submit their final claim within 2 months of project completion.

Round Deadline Award
1 20 February 2020 (5PM) 2 April 2020
2 28 May 2020 (5PM) 15 July 2020
3 24 Sept 2020 (5PM) 5 Nov 2020

How to apply

Applications to this fund are now open. 

If you wish to discuss any potential applications please contact our Grants Team at or on 0131 550 4115.

Apply via MGS Online

Assessment criteria

We’ll assess your application in terms of:


We will look at how well you have demonstrated the need for this project and the suitability of your chosen approach.


We will look at:

  • How well your project will deliver our grant outcomes

We are interested not in how many outcomes you deliver but in whether you have developed your project with the outcomes in mind. For example, a project that is focused on upgrading your museum displays for audiences will probably also present opportunities to develop workforce skills and collections knowledge. We want to see that you are making the most of these opportunities with our funding.

  • to what extent the project will support your organisation to improve in line with your stated plans


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

What we can't fund

  • Core work or fill in for funding cut from core services
  • Maintenance and like-for-like replacements
  • Acquisitions
  • Projects that have already started, or will start before our published decision date (this does not include preparatory work)
  • Continuations or repeats of projects we have funded before, unless it can be demonstrated that there is new work taking the project on to another stage with new benefits to be gained
  • Salaries for existing staff, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the work is additional to their normal contracted hours
  • Project contingency

Case studies

Information and inspiration on projects MGS has previously funded through the Small Project Fund. 

Linlithgow Heritage Trust - Capacity Building Project

This case study is about a capacity building project to increase the resilience of Linlithgow Heritage Trust. You should read it if you are interested in improving the leadership, governance, and long-term sustainability of your museum.

Read more

Fife Folk Museum - 'Things We Love' 

This case study is about producing a new exhibition where the museum volunteers themselves were the focus. You should read it if you are looking for ways to recognise and celebrate the contribution of your own volunteers or to make use of an underused area of your museum. 

Read more


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