Woman holding phone and smiling We have awarded 20 museums over £62,086 worth of Small Grants for change and improvement projects.

The vision for our Small Grants for change and improvement is to support inclusive and inspiring museums relevant to the lives of the diverse communities they serve. These grants were created using funds from Arts Council England and Art Fund. We know that for many museums, even a small grant can be a powerful catalyst for change and improvement, whether that’s exploring sensitive topics with audiences or improving collections access.

Take the Royal Artillery Museum (RAM) in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Thanks to the relocation of their Designated collection, they have an unprecedented opportunity to document and conserve their small object collection. Their Small Grant will enable RAM to receive professional archiving guidance and conservation training, as well as recruit two new volunteers to repack their small objects collection. As a result, RAM will develop handling and packing procedures which inform the development of their Collections Care Plan and Conservation Policy. Also, the material will be made accessible for researchers and will be available online in “virtual exhibitions”.

Earlier this year, Bath Preservation Trust acknowledged a priority for Beckford’s Tower; enabling audiences to enjoy storytelling from multiple perspectives that is inclusive and makes them feel represented and welcome. Beckford’s Tower will use their Small Grant to engage ‘State of Trust’, a registered charity which supports community cohesion through arts activity, to deliver an artistic response to slavery through dance, music and spoken word. Together, they will deliver new creative workshops in local schools, with a focus on those in economically deprived areas in the city of Bath.

The volunteer led Museum of Bath Stone identified an opportunity to both process over 61 hours of archival film footage documenting Ralph Allen’s Bath Stone mines, as well as increase in-person volunteer opportunities and in-person community engagement. The museum will present volunteers with a rare opportunity to transcribe content, record their own observations and input to the development of the museum’s collection. The Small Grant they received will support the museum to provide a stream of new experiences using the digitised films, including supporting neurodiverse users to engage with the collection.

All of the successful projects will be vital to driving change and improvement not only in their respective museums but also in their communities. Roz Bonnet, Programme and Projects Officer for South West Museum Development, explains:

“Change and improvement are essential to museums if they are to continue to engage new audiences and share inspiring collections, we are glad to support these projects which will have a positive impact across the South West”.

If you’re feeling inspired take a look at our grants page or sign up to our newsletter to find out about future grant schemes.