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Festival of Museums Fund

Are you planning an event for the 2017 Festival of Museums? Accredited museums can apply to the Festival of Museums Fund for support.

About the fund

The fund is designed to support museums to deliver Festival of Museum events. Taking part in Festival of Museums offers museums a chance to raise their own profile and to develop skills and experience in event planning, budgeting for and delivering sustainable and enterprising events.

In 2017, MGS has increased the focus on generating income from external sources in order to support the development of skills in building financial resilience. You can apply for up to 50% of your event costs but you will need to generate at least 25% of the costs either from other external sources (e.g. cash or in-kind sponsorship) or through the event itself (e.g. ticket sales).

Any remaining costs must be covered by your organisation. We consider project costs as anything that your organisation would normally expect to make a payment for. In-kind contributions (including volunteer hours) and staff hours that are not additional to normal working hours cannot be included as costs covered by your organisation. 

For further information about Festival of Museums visit the project page.


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


Organisations can apply for between £300 and £1,500 (up to 50% of the total project costs). Applicants must generate at least a further 25% of their costs from either external sources or through the event itself.

When to apply

The closing date for applications to the fund for Festival of Museums 2017 is 25 November 2016.

Museums should start working on their application early so that they have time to plan how they will meet the minimum income generation requirement.

Specific surgery days have been planned for 20 October, 26 October and 3 November. Museums can 0131 550 4100 to book or email

If necessary, museums can contact MGS to discuss their application outside of the surgery slots.

Applicants will have a chance to correct errors in their applications but must respond to any request to do so within two working days.

Museums who are not eligible for a grant but would like to discuss the development of an event are also welcome to book a surgery slot and / or contact MGS for advice.

How to apply

Apply via MGS Online for a Festival of Museums Fund award.

Apply now via MGS online

Assessment criteria

We will assess your application against the following criteria:

  • How enterprising your approach is

MGS is placing a greater focus on income generation as these skills will help to build financial resilience. We encourage museums to diversify their income to negate financial risks. Your application will score higher if your generated 25% is made up from a combination of sources (eg. sponsorship - both cash and in-kind - and ticket sales).

  • How well you have defined and targeted your audience

We will be looking to see that you have;

  • identified a target audience
  • clear evidence that the event will appeal to them
  • relevant marketing plans in place on how you will reach them. We recommend that you use the attached template marketing plan. Remember that it is your responsibility to market your event locally and to contribute to the MGS coordinated national campaign.
  • How well planned your event is

We will be looking for;

  • A clear project plan with realistic timescales and evidence that the appropriate staff will be involved in the project at relevant times eg that marketing staff are informed of the event with sufficient time to plan the appropriate activity into their workload
  • Proportionate contingency planning eg if you have an outdoor event planned, what will you do if it rains on the day? Or if you have performers booked, what will you do if they need to cancel?
  • Value for money – whilst different events will be appropriate to different sizes of audience, events should work out at a reasonable amount of money per head. For example, if your event costs £2,000 but you expect to have an audience of just 50 your event will cost £40 per head which is very expensive.

What we can fund

It is okay to stage events that appeal to your regular audience. It is also okay to stage events similar to ones you have successfully delivered before. Equally, we encourage you to use Festival of Museums event as also a chance to try out an event which, if successful, you can repeat in the future. It is just essential that you;

  • Define the audience you wish to attract
  • Develop an event that you have evidence will appeal to your defined audience
  • Provide details of your marketing activity which is targeted to attract your identified audience/s.
  • Aim to stage an event that will turn the participants into advocates for your museum

Stage an event that is open to the public to attend (with the understanding that you are aiming to attract a specific audience type).

What we can't fund

  • Costs not associated with putting on an event on the Festival of Museums weekend
  • Acquisitions
  • Salaries for existing staff unless it can be clearly demonstrated that the work is additional to their normal hours
  • Project contingency
  • Events that do not take place during the Festival of Museums weekend (19, 20 & 21 May 2017)

Conditions of award

By accepting a grant you agree to the following conditions.

  • To use the award for the approved purposes only and seek our written permission to make any changes to the project
  • To register your Festival of Museums event before 28 February 2017
  • To undertake your own promotional press and marketing activity
  • To use the appropriate Festival of Museums logo on all of your promotional materials and the Festival key messages where possible. The logo and communications toolkit will be sent to you by email
  • To complete a survey on your experience of Festival of Museums by the published deadline (usually one month after the Festival has taken place)
  • To encourage visitors to your event/s to complete the MGS commissioned survey of their experience
  • To send us high-resolution digital images of the event in jpeg format within one month of your event. Please ensure that the people depicted in any images provided have given written approval for us to use the image in Festival of Museums / MGS marketing materials. An example consent form is available on request. Please provide captions and copyright details where required.
  • To send MGS copies of promotional materials from your event
  • To manage the event safely and effectively and comply with the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014), if required

To claim your grant you will need to submit a complete claim form through the Grants Processing System no later than the published deadline. The claim form confirms that the funding has been used in the way specified in the application; the claim should include proof of payment for all elements detailed within the application.


Gillian Simison
Investment Manager
Telephone: 0131 550 4115

Eithne Ní Chonghaile
PR, Media and Press Manager
Telephone: 0131 550 4123