Apply for an acquisition grant

For over a hundred years, we've helped more than 700 museums and galleries buy great works of art of all ages and types.

Through making grants to support acquisitions we aim to keep great works of art on public display and enable the continued development of museum collections of fine and applied arts. We do this to help broaden and enrich the public experience of art, and to support art historical scholarship, now and in the future. 

Please call Eleanor McGrath (programmes manager, acquisitions) on 020 7225 4815 to discuss potential acquisitions before beginning the online application process, so we can ensure the object you wish to purchase is eligible and that we have enough time to process your application. Please also make sure you read our guidance for applicants PDF, which takes you through the application form step-by-step and includes FAQs.

Size of grants available

Our acquisition programme operates three distinct grant schemes:

  • Main grants, ie grant requests of above £7,500 and/or where the total cost of the work is more than £15,000.
  • Small grants, ie grant requests of £7,500 or less where the total cost of the work is £15,000 or less.
  • Auctions, ie time critical applications of any size for works coming up for sale at auction.

There is no minimum amount that can be applied for, and there is no fixed percentage for which you can apply to the Art Fund, but we expect you to explore the possibility of applying to all appropriate sources of public funding for which you may be eligible.

What we will support​

We can assist with the purchase of works of art and other objects of artistic interest, dating from antiquity to the present day. Within this broad category our criteria include:

  • Objects of national and international importance, including high value items subject to temporary export licence deferral or being offered with tax remission.
  • Objects of significant regional interest judged to be of good museum quality.
  • Objects which will artistically enrich collections and support the expansion and development of new areas of collecting.

We do not usually support commissions, but can sometimes consider exceptional projects, and would encourage any applicant with a project in mind to contact us to discuss the proposal.

Who we will support

UK public museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives that are:

  • Open for at least half the week for at least six months of the year.
  • Fully or provisionally accredited under the Arts Council Scheme.

Terms and conditions

All recipients of grants will be asked to sign our full Grant Conditions.
To say thank you to our members and enable them to see the works of art they have helped acquire, we ask you to:

  • Give free admission to your permanent collections for National Art Pass holders.
  • Give free or half-price entry to your exhibitions.
  • Make a permanent acknowledgement of our help.
  • Collaborate over publicity and promotional work.

For full details of how museums are asked to acknowledge our support please see Acknowledging the Art Fund's support.

Using the online form

We recommend using an up-to-date internet browser when making a grant application on our site. If you have issues with the grant form, please download the latest version of your browser. If you are using an up-to-date browser, but are still having problems, please email programmes manager Eleanor McGrath:

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