Grant applications

Please note our next grant application window will open on 1st MARCH 2024

Do you or your organisation have a winning idea for a small project related to archaeological finds or collections? Will your project help to promote engagement with archaeological collections in your local area? Perhaps you’d benefit from a mentoring scheme with another museum or collection? Have you been inspired to take your collection online and need support to develop remote engagement?

The Society for Museum Archaeology (SMA) is pleased to offer a modest grant to support projects or activities that fulfil the Society’s values, and which promote the understanding and appreciation of archaeological museum collections or the development of museums staff and volunteers.

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

Download application guidelines

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