Discover funding opportunities in expected and unexpected places—and learn the fastest ways to assess if you should apply

Knowing where to find museum grants is often the first hurdle in attaining funding. Followed in close second by deciding if a grant program, once located, would be likely to fund your proposed project.

This stage of grant research—from the looking to the evaluating—can take significant time away from day-to-day museum life. But it can be sped up!

At Gallery Systems, we research, gather, and assess an extensive list of international grants for our Museum Grants Guides each year. We’re experts at pinpointing the best grants for museums and cultural institutions—and want to share our go-to strategies with you.

Take the guesswork out of grant research. Learn how to find and apply for funding toward supporting the evolution of your museum, its collections, and projects.

Best places to find museum grants

Let’s start with where to look for museum grants. Locating new funding opportunities can require being both creative and practical with your search, exploring existing directories, and consulting your industry network.

Use grants guides and portals

Leverage the online resources available to you, including grants databases, directories, and guides like the Museum Grants Guides by Gallery Systems. Through compiling grants by region, country, or topic, these assets can help save you valuable time and effort.

Consult them early in your research to find museum grants and granting bodies for your intended project.

Talk to local agencies

Reach out to your nearest arts council, preservation office, or heritage division for their input. Often government-run, these agencies play a central role in the regional circulation of funding to museums and cultural institutions.

Learn if they offer suitable grants or funding programs for your needs. Or can direct you toward other agencies that do.

Explore national options

Visit your country’s government websites to see if federal or national-level funding is available. Many nations distribute funds to museums and heritage institutions to support their operations.

In the case of the European Union, member countries are also eligible for supranational funding.

For reference, here are examples of where to look:

Ask your network

Talk to your contacts in the museum world. Connect with peers who worked on similar projects and inquire how grant funding played a role. Ask if they have advice to share, with the benefit of hindsight and a submitted grant report.

Real-world insight can bring new ideas on where to find museum grants and clarity to your granting journey.

Deciding if a grant is right for your museum

Once you pinpoint a few promising grants, the next step is choosing where to submit your application. Each grant must be carefully assessed for eligibility and suitability.

Define your proposed project

Before diving deeper into your grant research, make sure your initiative and its scope are already defined. You should have a clear idea of your project’s objectives, budget, timelines, participants, and foreseen outcomes.

Otherwise, it will be difficult to determine whether a grant is a strong fit for your museum—let alone convince its funding agency!

Check the grant status and deadlines

Always ensure your chosen grant is active and that its application deadlines are feasible.

Museum grants are subject to different lifespans. Funding programs can run annually or biannually, exist temporarily in response to an urgent need, or stop operating after a few funding rounds.

Once you’ve confirmed the grant’s status, take a closer look at its deadlines. Some grants have rolling deadlines, allowing you to apply when it’s most convenient. While others follow rigorous, multi-step processes with strict due dates attached.

Read the eligibility guidelines

For each grant, review the eligibility guidelines carefully—both for the grant itself and for its granting agency.

Understanding these criteria is key to determining if your project is a viable candidate. Ensure your type of institution and the initiative you’re proposing lines up well with the stated mission and funding mandate.

Review past recipients and projects

Check for details on previous recipients and their projects when visiting grant sites. Many agencies publish online lists of past awardees, allowing you to gain a better sense of who and what they fund.

Comparing your proposed project to successful applicants can help indicate a grant’s suitability.

While not always an application dealbreaker, the absence of similar institutions and/or projects to yours should be a sign to pause and evaluate further.

Consult with a granting officer

When in doubt, reach out to the program officer for support. Many grant agencies have staff members to answer your questions and assist you during the application process.

Making use of their expertise and insight can help ensure you’re set up for success upon applying.

Your checklist for assessing grants

After finding museum grants, assess your options faster by using our checklist, Is this museum grant right for me? It includes questions for every key point covered in the previous section.

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, the grant you’re evaluating isn’t a strong fit for your project and/or institution.

Checklist: Is this museum grant right for me?

🔲 Is this grant and/or granting agency still active?
🔲 Can I meet the grant’s application deadlines?
🔲 Based on the eligibility requirements, can my type of institution apply?
🔲 Does my proposed project meet the eligibility criteria?
🔲 When reviewing past recipients, have institutions and projects like mine received funding?
🔲 Will the grant amount cover our proposed project?
🔲 If awarded the funding, does my institution have the resources to manage it successfully?

So, you found a museum grant. What’s next?

Want to use grant funding toward a new CMS? Or improving your museum software? Gallery Systems can help.

Through our support, institutions have been successful in applying for grants related to software implementation, upgrades, and training. Contact our team to learn more.

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