On 1 October 2011 we took on responsibility for supporting and developing museums as part of the functions we inherited from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).


Major partner museums
As part of these new functions we re-launched the Renaissance programme following the Selwood review of 2009 and in early 2012 announced the 16 major partner museums to replace the former hubs and hub partnerships.

The Major partner museums receive between £500,000 and £2 million each, totalling approximately £21 million per year. The funding is aimed at supporting them to be even more ambitious and contribute to museum leadership across the country.

Strategic support fund
In March 2013 we announced the 87 projects awarded a share of £17.8 million for the second round of the Strategic support fund, a programme focusing on any gaps (geographical or otherwise) or development opportunities across the sector.

Museum development grants programme
We are also supporting a programme of national museum development support for smaller museums totalling £3 million per year. This has provided a network of nine providers across the country, in most cases run out of Major partner museums.

The Museum development grants for 2015-18 have been announced. 

The Accreditation Scheme sets nationally agreed standards for museums in the UK. The Standard supports museums in identifying opportunities for further improvement and development. There are currently over 1,800 museums participating in the Scheme, demonstrating their commitment to managing collections effectively for the enjoyment of our communities. 

National programmes
In addition, we are running a suite of national, sector-wide projects and programmes, totalling approximately £3.25 million per year. This supports Designation development, the V&A purchase grant fund, the PRISM fund, subject specialist networks, support for Collections Trust and Culture24, and also the campaigns Museums at Night and Kids in Museums.

Find out more about how we will deliver the Renaissance funding programme for museums.

Supporting collections

The Arts Council's cultural property functions include the new life-time cultural giving scheme the Cultural Gifts Scheme as well as Acceptance in Lieu and our work on export controls.

Designation is currently closed for reviewDesignation identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England's non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance. 

Find out more about our support of museum collections.

Museums and schools programme

We running a Museums and schools programme, funded by the Department for Education, which is building capacity for school engagement in 10 regional museums partnered with 10 national museums. The partnerships have been awarded a total of £3.6 million funding until 2015.

This programme is a response to key recommendations from Cultural Education: an independent review by Darren Henley.

Case studies

Browse a selection of case studies from the museumaker project.

Read other case studies about Arts Council England-funded museums projects.

Social media

Follow our museums updates on Twitter at #ACEmuseums

Environmental sustainability

Museums have a strong track record of acting on climate change, with pioneering research, conferences, networks and practical projects at a regional and national level through Renaissance Hubs in recent years. Find out more about Museums responding to climate change with innovative cultural projects at both the local and national level.

Partnership working - the London 2012 legacy

After a successful Stories of the World programme linked to London 2012 we are now looking to embed that approach, partly through a partnership with the Imperial War Museum supporting museums play a full part in the commemorations of the First World War centenary.