£250,000 available for UK’s regional museums to borrow national treasures

  • 13 June 2019

Applications are now open for the third round of funding from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, which helps museums and galleries nationwide to borrow major works of art and objects from the UK's national collections.

John Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831, on display at Tate, 2013

John Constable, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831, on display at Tate, 2013

Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide grant programme specifically designed to directly fund and empower regional and smaller local authority museums to borrow major works and collections of art and objects from national museums and galleries.

The third round of this three-year, £750,000 funding and training programme is now open for applications, closing 10 September.

The scheme aims to widen access to works from national collections for audiences across the country; to strengthen the skills of museum professionals, and to support the sharing of resources and expertise.

Twenty-six museums and galleries, along with 123 curators, have already benefited through grants from the scheme in its first two years, with a range of exhibitions supported by the programme opening throughout 2018 and 2019.

Recently, the second round of funding supported loans including works by JMW Turner, now touring museums in the North of England; Ancient Egyptian mummies and artefacts from the British Museum, to be hosted by Wakefield Museum in July; and George Stubbs’ iconic equine portrait Whistlejacket, which will travel from the National Gallery to Milton Keynes in October.

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 can be applied for until 10 September, via artfund.org/weston-loan-programme

Successful projects will be announced later in 2019. Loans of works of art and objects will go on display from 2020 onwards.

Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: ‘Up and down the country we know museum curators are brimming with ideas about famous works of art they would like to bring to their audiences locally. We are delighted to see that our programme is helping them overcome barriers to sharing works of art, forging new connections between museums and continuing to inspire many exciting exhibitions across the UK.

'We are looking forward to seeing more museums taking advantage of this unique loan programme so that many more local communities can benefit.’

Stephen Deuchar, director of Art Fund, said: ‘This scheme has shown that the loan of a single masterpiece can be transformative for a museum – sometimes even doubling daily visitor figures. We’re proud to be partnering with the Garfield Weston Foundation on this imaginative funding scheme helping museums.'

Tags: Museums and galleries