Acquisitions and collections

Acquisition grants

We give grants of over £4m every year to support new acquisitions. We believe that new acquisitions should be transformative for the institution and its public, and we ask applicants to consider how adding to the collection will change visitors’ experiences. 

Gifts and bequests

A key way for museums to develop their collections is through gifts and bequests and encouraging this kind of private philanthropy has never been more important. Last year we helped owners and collectors to place 124 works of art in 16 museums and galleries. 

Collecting initiatives

Most of our grants are made as one-offs or on a case-by-case basis, but sometimes we bring together like-minded organisations – such as the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation or the Contemporary Art Society – to address a particular challenge. In recent years we have invested nearly £6m in special collecting projects, focused on everything from indigenous Australian printmaking to performance art.