Here we have collected a summary of support, advice and guidance available elsewhere on helping museums to deal with the evolving Coronavirus/Covid-19 situation. We will update this page as we find new information.

A SHARE guide for museums applying for ACE financial support (for organisations outside of the National Portfolio)

Arts Council England has released its emergency funding and below we have summarised key points of the application process. Please be aware that as this is emergency funding ACE may change the response time and notice period depending on the amount of applications received.

  • Click here for an overview of the funding.
  • Click here for the easy read version of the guidance.
 Please let us know as soon as you are considering putting in an application to ACE. You can drop us an email. ACE may use our knowledge of museums in our region to help make decisions about who receives funding

Who can apply and deadlines

Firstly, organisations will need to be part of ACE’s Accreditation Scheme (those officially ‘Working Towards’ are not eligible). In order to apply organisations will also need to have a Grantium Account. Those who have yet to set one up have until the 13th April to apply for round 1 funding and the 27th April for round 2.

Please note, that in order to apply organisations must have previously received public funding. This includes organisations which have been funded by SHARE Museums East or their regional County Museum Development Organisation. This also includes receiving funding from other funding bodies including NLHF, Esmée Fairburn etc.

If your organisation is currently working on a project funded by ACE please contact them via email to discuss how the funds could possibly be directed elsewhere.

Museums can apply for a maximum of £35,000, to be used within six months of receiving the grant. You can apply for funding to development or public-facing activity, and you can apply for funding to cover operational costs.

Operational costs may include:

  • rent or other building costs
  • staff costs
  • overheads such as utilities, insurance etc
  • costs associated with keeping your organisation operational over the next six months

Funding could be used to cover:

A. Activity intended to prevent your organisation ceasing operation due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 emergency, for example:

  • urgent changes of business model
  • essential operational costs (such as rent and staff costs)
  • IT and other equipment-related costs to support home working


B. Development and delivery of activity specifically designed to be deliverable during the next six months, including:

  • development projects in readiness for organisations restarting normal operations, for example organisational development, and/or
  • public facing projects, for example digital/online projects

Application process

ACE have released two funding rounds, organisations can only apply for only one round. If you submit more than application, it will not be considered.  However, if organisations have not been able to submit an application in time for round 1, the draft application will still be saved and able to submit for round 2.

No match funding is needed in order to receive the grant.

Round 1:

  • Applications open: 9th April
  • Closes: 16th April midday

Round 2:

  • Applications open: midday 16th April
  • Closes: 30th April midday

ACE understands that organisations may be applying for support from multiple funders and encourage you to apply to as many funders as possible. Please be aware that you if you are also offered funding from the NLHF’s Heritage Emergency Fund you will not be able to accept funding from both organisations.

Arts Council staff, including Relationship Managers and customer service, will not be able to offer specific guidance or advice about how to write your application.

ACE have tried to keep the application as simple as possible. They will ask organisations to show their cashflow, any other grant income, and how you will manage the grant. Please detail any income losses; organisations may be required to show evidence at a later stage.

ACE will ask organisations to:

  1. Identify the losses organisations have incurred due to the Covid-19 emergency
  2. Tell it about your organisation’s work and its track record working in the publicly funded arts and culture sector.
  3. What difference an emergency grant from this fund would make to your organisation. ACE will ask you to provide a simple budget and cashflow, your last year’s turnover and your reserves position. Detail how you might use the funding within the next six months. While there is no requirement for match funding for this programme, please still detail any other emergency funding that you are reasonably expecting to receive from other sources.
  4. If you plan to deliver any immediate activity (including delivery or organisational development), how it would help your organisation contribute to delivering ACE’s new Strategy for 2020-2030, Let’s Create. See below for more guidance.
  5. How funding you receive now will help you to contribute to delivering Let’s Create in the future. See below for more guidance.

The Let’s Create Strategy

You will be asked about how you plan to work with ACE’s new strategy Let’s Create. The grant guidance says you will need to,

Tell us if you will be delivering any activities that go towards our new strategy, Let’s Create – Use the three outcomes in our new strategy to explain how your work will deliver against them in the next 6 months
Tell us how the funding will help you contribute to Let’s Create in the future  – Use the three outcomes in our new strategy to explain how your work will deliver against them beyond the next 6 months

Advice and hints on completing the section on Let’s Create


If you would like to talk through the ways in which your museum may already be working towards the Let’s Create strategy, or could do in future, you can make use of the support line we are providing for this application process. Informal support is being provided by ex-SHARE Coordinator, Simon Floyd. Simon has experience of working with museums of all sizes, and within the arts managing community theatre projects. He also has experience of writing funding applications including those to ACE. Simon will be happy to discuss with you how your museum is – or could be – supporting Let’s Create and how you might include this in your application.

Please check that your museum fully meets the funding criteria (found on page 6 of the guidance) before making use of this service. It will be available from 6-30 April 2020 for applicants to ACE’s Emergency Funds scheme only. To access the service, please contact Simon Floyd at or 07896 781574.

AIM Online Advice Surgeries

The Association of Independent Museums are offering up to an hour of consultation to support museums with the application to the ACE and NLHF emergency funds. For more information and how to apply, click here.

ACE values Shared Experiences of Culture

Museums play an essential role in helping us understand and shape culture. They connect us to the past and encourage us to think about the future. Museums themselves have evolved into cross-disciplinary institutions, connecting science, history and art, developing knowledge through research, making space for education, debate, creative and artistic activity and sustaining a spirit of place in communities. All of this work plays a key role in ensuring that England’s collections and objects are developed, protected and enjoyed, both now and in the future. A dynamic museums sector will be at the heart of this Strategy: over the next 10 years, alongside our statutory functions, we will go on expanding public access to their collections, to ensure that they continue to delight and inspire as many people as possible.

Let’s Create is divided into two sections: Outcomes and Investment Principles. You will need to show that your museum contributes to at least one of the Outcomes and works in line with as many Investment Principles as possible.


1. CULTURAL COMMUNITIES: Villages, towns and cities thrive through a collaborative approach to culture.

We want to see communities that are more socially cohesive and economically robust, and in which residents experience improved physical and mental wellbeing, as a result of investment in culture.

Museums are centres for knowledge and cultural participation. They work with local communities to create understanding of people and places.

We will support local cultural organisations, including libraries, museums, Music Education Hubs and arts, to develop a better understanding of the needs and interests of their communities, and to use that intelligence for the measurable benefit of those communities.

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Have you any engagement with Local Cultural Education Partnerships (LCEPs)?
  • Any age-friendly work done or planned?
  • Any family-friendly work done or planned?
  • Any partnerships with other community groups and/or local organisations?
  • Have any staff volunteered attended training relevant to this e.g. from the Museums & Communities East network?

2. CREATIVE PEOPLE: Everyone can develop and express creativity throughout their life. Museums, libraries and arts organisations can use their collections, knowledge, skills and other assets to support community-led activities that are open to everyon

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Do you support people, including Early Years children and older people to be creative in your spaces through formal, informal activities and other ways?
  • Do you work with Artists/Creative Practitioners to use your collections to work with your visitors?

3. A CREATIVE & CULTURAL COUNTRY: England’s cultural sector is innovative, collaborative and international

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Has your museum contributed to any SHARE (or other) networks or training delivery?
  • Has your museum taken part in any Kids in Museums’ Takeover day? Or worked with any FE/HE students on work experience or similar?
  • Do you have any World Culture items in your collection, if so how have you worked with them
  • Any innovative projects or others that could be described as reimagining our cultural heritage for the audiences of today?

Investment Principles

ACE believes that museums that are committed to applying its four Investment Principles will be better able to deliver the Outcomes described above. Consider these when completing your application:

1. AMBITION & QUALITY: Cultural organisations are ambitious and committed to improving the quality of their work

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Have you been part of SHARE’s Mystery Shopping Scheme?
  • Have you asked visitors what they think of you, perhaps through SHARE’s VIE scheme or Audience Finder?
  • Have you or staff or volunteers attended any relevant training on this?
  • Have any of your staff or volunteers undertaken a relevant qualification recently (e.g. Volunteer Management with SHARE)?

2. INCLUSIVITY & RELEVANCE: England’s diversity is fully reflected in the organisations and individuals that we support and in the culture they produce

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Have you done an Equality Action plan in your museum?
  • Have you had a SHARE Hidden Histories grant or done any similar work?
  • Have you or staff or volunteers attended any relevant training on this?
  • Have you sought to recruit trustees with a diversity of opinion and/or trustees who reflect your community?
  • Have you sought to recruit volunteers with diverse skills/outlook and who reflect your community?

3. DYNAMISM: Cultural organisations are dynamic and able to respond to the challenges of the next decade

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • What does your Forward Plan say on this?
  • Have you put in place a way to recruit new trustees and expand your skillset for the future?
  • Is your Business model fit for purpose? Have you developed/changed it recently, for example participated in a SHARE Think Like a Business programme.
  • How are you responding to this current crisis?
  • What are you doing differently compared to two years ago?
  • What do you see as challenges of the next decade after this crisis has eased?
  • Are you doing any contemporary collecting and/or re-interpreting your existing collections (e.g. are you decolonising your collections?)
  • Are you reviewing and rationalising collections, assessing significance and relevance?
  • Are you developing your use of modern technology to keep up with new trends (e.g. digital fundraising)
  • Has your museum checked its governance against current best practice and new legal models? Has this led you to transition to CIO status?

4. ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY: Cultural organisations lead the way in their approach to environmental responsibility

HINT: What to think about/include in your application

  • Have you had a SHARE Sustainable Energies grant?
  • What have you done/plan to do to reduce your Carbon footprint/ move towards Carbon neutrality?
  • Have you or staff or volunteers attended any relevant training on this?
Organisations Resources

Arts Council England:


Museums Association: 

  • launched a FAQ page which is regularly updated

Museum Development:

Collections Resources
Resilience Resources
  • The UK Government website has a comprehensive page on risk management.
  • The Charity Finance Group has published a Coronavirus Guide which offers  practical guide for charity finance professionals covering business continuity planning, cashflow management and insurance. The guide is being update regularly.
  • AIM has published a Coronovirus advice page on its website which includes a 10-point Business Resilience Checklist– make sure you read this and act before it’s too late. It will be updated regularly.
  • Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has released a Coronavirus Pandemic Business Continuity Plan
Leadership Resources
  • NCVO has also created a Coronavirus page with lots of useful advice for voluntary organisations, which is also relevant for employers. It has just been updated to include: sick leave and reducing social contact; holding events, board meetings and AGMs; additions to contingency planning and how insurance will be impacted; a new section on what to expect from funders
  • The Chancellor’s COVID-19: Support for Businesses package:
    –  statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
    – a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
    small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
    – grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
    – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
    – the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Wellbeing Resources

Remember – your own health and wellbeing comes first!

Don’t forget the human impact on staff and volunteers. Even if few at your museum are affected by the virus, those who come to work may have relatives who are ill or may be trying to also do the work of those who are off sick.

Please continue to check the advice published here in addition that from to your local authorities:

Please be mindful of the wellbeing of your volunteers, staff and freelancers – the Mental Health Foundation has published some excellent advice on looking after your mental health during the outbreak.

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