Society for Museum Archaeology grant awards

Successful applicants announced!

SMA is pleased to have been able to support the following applicants and their projects as follows:

  • Ironbridge Archaeology Digitisation Project

Submitted by The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Between 1981 and 2010 the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) ran the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Archaeology Unit. The legacy collection includes several hundred original excavation plans, many of which have never been published. IGMT staff have trained and developed a dedicated team of volunteers who have begun listing the collection, a process which has revealed both its significance and the merit of digitising a proportion of the plans. Funding supplied by SMA will enable approximately 250 plans to be digitised by an external contractor and the IGMT Marketing Team will create a film to illustrate the process. A central output of the project will be a searchable database of the plans which will, in turn, provide the metadata for the digital images, and link them to the relevant reports, photographs and any associated finds. The information will be added to the museum’s CMS, which will be moving online during 2023/24.

  • The Mystery of the Dodecahedra

Submitted by English Heritage  Corbridge Roman Site

Dodecahedra are 12-sided copper alloy objects from the Roman period (2nd-4th century). The function of a dodecahedra is unknown, but there are almost 50 theories regarding its use. They are a great mystery and appeal to academics and visitors alike. English Heritage will be displaying the dodecahedra from its collection, alongside dodecahedra loans from the Great North Museum and Newcastle City Council. These objects will be a small part of a larger display, which will encourage visitors to interact with 3D printed versions of dodecahedra  – the latter will be produced with funding supplied by SMA . Equipment that will enable visitors to explore three theories relative to their use  will also be acquired, including a voting box that will allow visitors to choose which theory they think is most likely by voting for 1 of 3 options, or by adding their own ideas.

Grant applications

Please read all the information below, including the Terms & Conditions before submitting an application.

The Society for Museum Archaeology (SMA) is pleased to offer funding awards up to the value of £750 annually to be spent on discrete projects or activities that fulfil one or more of the following aims:
• Fill gaps in expertise and contribute to professional development in the field of museum archaeology
• Improve understanding and increase knowledge of archaeological museum collections
• Improve levels of access to and engagement with archaeological museum collections
• Improve management, care or storage conditions of archaeological museum collections
• Decolonisation of archaeological museum collections

We expect all projects to have specific outputs relating to the wider museum archaeology community.

Applications should demonstrate how their project or activity champions one or more of the Society’s aims, which are to:

• Promote greater public understanding of the archaeological past and a fuller public appreciation of the importance of archaeology (e.g. publication)
• Enable museum staff and volunteers to develop the skills to work with archaeological collections proactively and confidently across collections care, interpretation, and public access. (e.g. developing toolkits, running engagement and/or training events)
• Connect museum staff and volunteers with subject-specialist expertise in order to facilitate knowledge exchange, and to strengthen expertise in museum archaeology (e.g. running workshops).

What we’ll fund
Projects or activities may include but are not limited to:
• Museum visits and collections research with defined outcomes
• Equipment and materials
• Engagement or learning initiatives
• Professional development opportunities
• Design and print costs.

SMA will not offer funding to cover:
• Staff costs, or business-as-usual running costs and overheads
• Staff out-of-pocket living expenses
• Acquisition of objects.

Who should apply?
We welcome applications from individual and institutional SMA members. Applicants do not need to have a paid position with a museum but should demonstrate public benefit in their application.

Funds available
We will consider applications of up to £750 (there is no lower limit).
We will consider applications for both full and partial funding of projects. If the latter, details of match funding must be provided. Where the number of applications deemed to have sufficient merit outweigh available grant funding, the grant panel may offer lower funding awards where this would not compromise the viability of the chosen projects.

How to apply
The application to the grant award is via application form only . If you need help or advice with your application, please get in touch with the SMA Secretaries to discuss your potential project or activity. We will be able to give you advice on eligibility, timescales, and deadlines for applications.
In the application form we will ask you to provide details of the following, where applicable:
• The proposed project or activity and its public benefit, and to explain how it meets the overall aims of the grant scheme
• How the funding will be spent, including an indicative but realistic timeframe and a full budget breakdown
• Estimates or quotations that you have received form third party suppliers
• Other funding sources.

Download the application form

The application window is currently closed.

What happens next
All applications are assessed by the SMA committee or members of a dedicated sub-committee. They will contact applicants to request further information if needed.
If your application is successful, we will inform you following the decision process and announce the award via our social media outlets and on the society’s website. Successful projects will be invited to report at a subsequent annual SMA Conference.
The decision of the committee is final.

Terms and conditions
The following conditions are attached to the SMA Funding Award:
1. The grant must be used only for the project detailed in the application.
2. Any variation to the project plan must be discussed with the grant panel in advance.
3. The grant is not a consideration for any taxable supply for VAT.
4. The SMA’s contribution to the Project must be acknowledged in all literature and /or other materials generated by award recipients to publicise the project, including but not limited to publications, interpretation panels and signage, and resources.
5. You agree to participate and present the project at a subsequent SMA conference (costs covered by the SMA in line with SMA’s travel and subsistence policy).
6. You will provide us with regular updates throughout the project and with an evaluation report at the end of the project, which will be used as the basis of a contribution to the SMA’s newsletter.
7. Payments may be made in stages depending on the project plan, as agreed by the awarding grant panel.
8. Award recipients will be asked to supply bank details in order to effect payment.

To promote the interests of archaeology in museums throughout the United Kingdom