Delivering Excellent Heritage Projects: Free AIM Biffa Award Seminar

Delivering Excellent Heritage Projects: Free AIM Biffa Award Seminar

Tuesday 4 October 10.45am – 3.00pm at the London Transport Museum

Lunch and optional tour of the London Transport Museum included

Free entry

If you are about to start a new capital heritage project or want to deliver a successful interpretation project, the upcoming free AIM Biffa Award ‘Delivering Excellent Heritage Projects’ seminar on 4 October at the London Transport Museum will inspire you and give you the confidence you need.

Museums and heritage sites embarking on a major development project will gain invaluable top tips on how to manage processes and planning, how to avoid pitfalls and recognise opportunities and how to manage communications and relationships with key stakeholders and volunteers.

The seminar will also provide inspiring ideas for new interpretation approaches through practical examples and case studies from organisations that have successfully won major capital grants from AIM Biffa Award or HLF and it will be especially useful to those thinking of applying to the new  AIM Biffa Award History Makers programme.

A range of speakers from different sized museums and Industrial Heritage Sites, who directly managed funding from the AIM Biffa Award National Heritage Landmark Projects Scheme which invested £1.5m in saving and interpreting industrial heritage sites, will be sharing their insights and tips throughout the day and during informal chats during lunch.

There will also be a chance to hear more about the new AIM Biffa Award ‘History Makers’ grant programme and potential applicants to the programme are encouraged to attend this seminar to learn about what the programme is looking to fund and what will make a good application. The closing date for the first round of History Makers is 31 October 2016.


Photo: courtesy of the Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills


10.45 Registration and Coffee

11.15 Welcome: Gillian French, Biffa Award, Head of Grants

11.30 Bill Ferris, Chief Executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard

Bill Ferris, Chief Executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard will explain what makes for successful project management and will introduce three NHLPS funded projects; all complex schemes forming part of larger HLF funded projects. These are:

Postal Heritage Trust: Mail Rail – presented by Chris Taft, Head of Collections

Chatham Historic Dockyard: World Heritage Discovery Centre – presented by Artelia UK

Underfall Yard: Hydraulic Pump House – presented by Nicola Dyer, Project Director

12.45 Lunch and Market Place

13.30 Sarah Macleod, Chief Executive of the Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills

The second session will be led by Sarah Macleod, Chief Executive of the Arkwright Society at Cromford Mills, who will be looking at some new approaches to heritage interpretation with case studies from:

Newman’s Coffin Works: Self- Guided Works Tour – presented by Tonia Collett, Volunteer and Operations Manager

Cromford Mills: Interpreting Arkwright’s First Mill – presented by Sarah Macleod, Chief Executive

ss GB: Being Brunel – presented by Rhian Tritton, Director of Museum and Educational Services

14.45 History Makers Fund: Di Lees, Director Imperial War Museum and Tim Burge, History Makers, Project Manager

Tim will explain the aims of the programme and what you need to do if you are interested in applying

Q and A

15.00 Seminar ends.

Sam Mullins, Director of the London Transport Museum, will give an update on recent developments at the museum with the opportunity to visit the museum


How to book: Tickets are free and can be booked by using our Eventbrite booking

AIM Biffa Award Full Colour PNG



AIM Conservation Grants – Next Round Closes 31 March

AIM members from small and medium size museums are eligible to apply to the AIM Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme and the AIM Conservation Grant Scheme. Both schemes are generously supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the next round of applications closes on 31 March 2016.

If you would like to improve your conservation skills or to chat to an AIM member of staff about our conservation grants, don’t forget that we are offering free collections care workshops funded by The Pilgrim Trust over the next couple of months. Details about these workshops can be found here: AIM Collections Care Workshops

Since these grant schemes started, hundreds of AIM member museums and heritage sites have benefited, and both schemes have been set up to help develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections. To check your eligibility and for further information, please see the AIM website: AIM Grant Schemes.

Please note that the typical grant awarded is £5,000 or under. If you have any questions about these grants, please email:

We like to showcase examples of successful applicants, so that anyone thinking of applying can see the type of conservation work that AIM has previously funded. The following is a report from The Powell-Cotton Museum who received an AIM Preventative Conservation grant of £8,942.


The Powell-Cotton Museum houses a world-class collection of natural history and ethnographic material from Asia and Africa, mostly collected by the Museum’s founder Percy Powell-Cotton, collected 1890-1939. The museum’s research collection of skins is housed in ‘the Workshops’. These rooms contain over 4000 animal skins, housed mainly in wooden crates and drawers, constructed in the early 20th century.

Over the last decade, the spaces have suffered increased problems with clothes moths, which have begun to damage the collections. The aim of this project was to eradicate the pest problem through the freezing of the skin specimens, the deep-cleaning of the space and the fixing of the damaged floor, which created cavities in which pests could live. The grant also enabled the purchase of metal storage furniture for the lower workshop, so that surfaces could be kept clear of clutter and the spaces made easier to keep clean.

The majority of the project has been undertaken by a group of volunteers who worked one day a week for nearly 2 years, wrapping all the specimens in plastic and freezing them in the walk-in freezer the museum purchased as part of this project. The volunteers also undertook a lot of the cleaning, assisted by the museum’s housekeeping and collections teams. Help also came from the Natural History Museum (NHM), who allowed free use of their large freezer and offered expert IPM advice. Experts were also brought in to recondition and seal the floors and to assist with the move of large specimens to and from the NHM freezers.

The project has led to a massive reduction in pests within the space, down to acceptable levels. We are now working with the NHM to trial a new form of moth repellent, which we hope to roll out across the museum if it is successful. The project has also provided the opportunity to fully audit the skin collection, providing us with an up to date inventory and a better knowledge of our natural history collections.




Investing in museums’ futures: AIM Hallmarks Fund

The AIM Hallmarks Investment Fund is now open for applications. The closing date for the first round is 5 February 2016. The fund is open to AIM member, Accredited (or working towards Accreditation) museums in England and will make investments of between £5000 and £15000 to help museums develop in line with the AIM Hallmarks.

The investment fund is part of AIM’s Hallmarks and Investing in Independence programme which is funded by Arts Council England. The programme also includes in-depth training programmes, which are also currently open for applications, online resources which will be developed over the next two years and a programme to support museum boards and trustees to be launched in 2016. Together these elements can help museums focus on the key issues which will help them prosper and thrive – as outlined in the Hallmarks.

The Investment Fund will support museums to develop in any element of the Hallmarks: purpose; leadership and culture; governance; innovation and risk; awareness and networks, visitor focus, collections and finance.

Work funded by an AIM Hallmarks Award must be demonstrably central to an applicant museum’s organisational development, and closely linked to the museum’s strategic plan. Museums must be able to show that the work undertaken using the grant could not have taken place without external support.

We are keen to support projects which have the potential to offer helpful lessons to other museums and that are genuinely new for the applicant organisation. This might involve trialling approaches or ways of working which are either wholly new to the museum sector, or new to museums of a particular kind or size.

More information about the Investment fund can be found on the AIM Website, along with the application form and guidance notes. Museums are invited to talk to Helen Wilkinson before making an application – please contact her at

Applications to Big Give Christmas Challenge 2015 now open

The following is taken from an article that appeared on the  UK Fundraising website on July 6th 2015 and is reproduced here with kind permission of Howard Lake and UK Fundraising.


The Big Give is inviting charities to apply to take part in its Big Give Christmas Challenge, the UK’s largest online match-funding campaign.

Launched in 2008, the annual multi-charity campaign has raised over £64 million for 2,271 charity projects.

Charities that take part are given the opportunity to give their donors the chance to have their donations doubled while the campaign runs in early December. This matched funding is provided by a range of philanthropic organisations or individuals. These ‘Champions’ have included The Reed Foundation, the Cabinet Office, the Garfield Weston Foundation, ICAP, Candis magazine and The Childhood Trust.

Participating charities commit to inviting their own major donors to make their gifts online during the Christmas Challenge, giving them a chance of having these gifts doubled by Champions. The matched funding, however, is available on a first-come, first-served basis on each day of the campaign.

Previously the Big Give Christmas Challenge has taken place over five days, but this year it will run over two days. Champions’ match funding will be released at midday on Friday 4th December and Saturday 5th December 2015.

How to apply

The Christmas Challenge is open to any UK-registered charity. Each charity can submit up to two projects for consideration for the Christmas Challenge but only one can be accepted. The projects can be to do with any aspect of a charity’s work.

To be eligible to apply, a charity must be registered on The Big Give and login to their charity account on the website from Monday 6th July to apply. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 17 July 2015.

Giving to Heritage

Sometimes we all need a bit of help to get ahead, so when it comes to Fundraising for your museum or heritage organisation, having support and guidance from Fundraising professionals can prove extremely worthwhile.

Knowing how to spot opportunities to diversify your income, cultivating a wide donor base and understanding how to create strong fundraising strategies will help to improve your organisations resilience now and in the future.

If you are solely in charge of fundraising for your organisation – or even if you are part of a larger fundraising team – the new schedule of Giving to Heritage training and workshops from The Heritage Alliance will enhance your skills and give you the confidence you need to conquer your fundraising objectives.


“The Giving to Heritage fundraising training programme is designed to help museums and other heritage organisations develop skills in areas of fundraising with which they may not be familiar,” explained Mark Webb, Giving to Heritage Project Officer.

“While the aim is to foster generic fundraising skills, the workshops are designed to be as heritage orientated as possible, including the use of heritage and museum case studies. The workshops are led by an experienced Institute of Fundraising trainer and are supported by an expert in heritage fundraising – often from a museum.”

The Giving to Heritage training covers a wide range of fundraising topics including ‘Major Donor Fundraising’ and ‘Using Digital and Social Media’. There are also opportunities for bespoke training through 1 to 1 consultancy sessions and a mentoring scheme for a selected number of heritage projects.


So far, the programme has attracted participants from national, regional and local museums who have all benefitted from the training and its associated networking opportunities and the feedback from attendees has been very positive with some recent feedback including:

“The seminar was both informative and well-presented and encouraged a high level of delegate participation – which always helps to keep you awake and on your toes at such events! Highly recommended.”

“I found this workshop to be highly relevant, well-presented, with very comprehensive supporting documentation. A good mix of delegates also provided some helpful networking opportunities”

“I would highly recommend this course. I have been a fundraiser for 20 years but it was refreshing to benefit from a seasoned trainer who could reach out to learners on any level.”


So what sets the Giving to Heritage workshops apart from other fundraising training available and why are they worth attending?

“The training workshops are primarily aimed at those who have little or no experience in the types of fundraising covered by the workshops,” said Clare Keates, Heritage Project Manager at the Institute of Fundraising.

“Whether you need to learn a new skill or boost an existing one, there’s a workshop in the most important fundraising disciplines. The GTH training has been rigorously developed, is regularly updated and delivered by top quality sector experts who understand the current fundraising climate and the challenges you face.”


Full information about the current workshops can be found here: GTH Workshops

Follow Giving to Heritage on Twitter: @Givingtoheritag

IoF Website: Institute of Fundraising

Images kindly provided by Giving to Heritage

Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage: New Courses

Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage now has a new schedule of training programmes open for bookings.

‘Planning to Progress’

This one-day course will provide you with an understanding of the significance and usefulness of an income generation plan and will provide you with the tools to construct an effective strategy for your organisation.

You will learn the principles of a fundraising model for heritage organisations and will begin to construct a strategy for your own organisation. You will explore: researching and identifying appropriate sources of private income; developing proposals; ‘making the ask’; and maintaining relationships with donors, funders or sponsors.

Tickets cost £25 for small to medium sized organisations and community organisations and £50 for larger charities and organisations.

Sessions are taking place in February and March 2015, they start at 9:15am and will finish by 5pm:

Wednesday 25th Feb         Lochgelly Centre, Fife (Final few tickets left)

Wednesday 4th March       Inverness Museum & Art Gallery (Final few tickets left)

Wednesday 11th March     MGS, Edinburgh

Wednesday 18th March     Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine

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A previous Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage training event

‘In Focus: Trusts Research on a Shoestring’ and ‘In Focus: Applying to Trusts & Foundations’ are two sessions taking place on Saturday 28th March in Perth.

‘Trusts Research on a Shoestring’  will provide you not just with the essentials of trusts and foundations research, but some practical tips and strategies on where to start and what to look for, especially if you don’t have access to industry-standard, but often expensive, resources and subscriptions.

‘Applying to Trusts & Foundations’ will include:

*an overview of where Trusts sit within the overall funding landscape

*the advantages and disadvantages of making applications

*an exploration of the various different types of trusts

*a guide to writing proposals

Tickets cost £25/£50 for each event. To book for one or both sessions please go to:

 Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage – Training & Events


Please note, we kindly ask that a maximum of two people attend from any organisation/group.

For further information please contact:

 Louise Downing –

Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage

Project Manager

AIM National Conference 2015

AIM National Conference  18 – 20 June 2015

‘The Hallmarks of Prospering Museums’

This year, the AIM National Conference will be held at the award-winning Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol, with an exciting new conference format that develops the new AIM Hallmarks through three themes: Leadership, Purpose and Governance; Innovation in Visitor Experience and Entrepreneurialism and Income Generation.

The conference will feature 30 guest speakers, 12 breakout sessions, new surgery sessions and keynote speeches from some of the UK’s leading cultural experts including the Chairs, Directors or CEOs of: ss Great Britain, London Transport Museum, ALVA, HLF, Battersea Arts Centre, Development Partners, Imperial War Museum, Derby Silk Museum, Creative United, Tiverton Museum, Museum of Dartmoor Life, Gordon Highlanders Museum, Royal West of England Academy, Bexley Heritage Trust, Birmingham Conservation Trust, Association of Cultural Enterprises, Luton Museums and National Football Museum.

Front Page

NEW for this year will also be a ‘Question Time Debate’ with a guest panel, Chaired by Matthew Tanner.

The Panel:

Richard Evans (Director, Beamish, The Living Museum of the North)

Diane Lees (Director-General, Imperial War Museum)

Judy Niner (Director of Development Partners and Chair of Cogges Manor Farm)

John Orna-Ornstein (Director of Museums, Arts Council England)

Evening social events, industry exhibitors and a Saturday Study Tour that will visit three of Bristol’s most historic locations means that the AIM National Conference 2015 is ideal for anyone connected to the UK’s heritage sector.

With more speakers and relevant topics than ever before, plus plenty of networking and idea sharing opportunities, by attending AIM conference you will discover a range of practical approaches to help your museum or heritage organisation prosper.

Image courtesy of ss Great Britain

Image courtesy of ss Great Britain

Our special Early Bird booking rate starts at just £45 per day for AIM members and runs until April 17th.

Download the AIM National Conference Brochure: conference 2015 booklet WEB

For how to book, prices and a conference schedule, please visit the AIM website and view ‘EVENTS’ tab at:


Follow all conference updates on Twitter @AIMuseums #2015AIM

AIM would like to thank Brunel’s ss Great Britain and our conference sponsors Development Partners


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New AIM Quick Guides: Donation Boxes in Museums

AIM is pleased to introduce the first of a new series of publications called ‘Quick Guides’.

The AIM QUICK GUIDES have been developed to provide useful and relevant information across a range of topics to help support the work of independent museums.

Researched and written by Professionals in the museum sector, the QUICK GUIDES offer practical help in a shorter format to our SUCCESS GUIDES allowing us to cover particular topics in more depth.

These guides can be viewed online in PDF format or downloaded and printed.

The first publication in this series is ‘Donation Boxes in Museums’ which has been produced by Judy Niner and Amy Richards of Development Partners, sponsors of the AIM National Conference 2015 June 18 – 20 at ss Great Britain, Bristol.

Donation Boxes in Museums

Donation Boxes in Museums

On-site donations can play an important role in a museum’s overall fundraising strategy for two principal reasons.

First, the very presence of a donation box reinforces the charitable nature of the museum. Secondly, the income itself (with Gift Aid) can be significant, whether unrestricted or allocated to a specific project.

This new Quick Guide will support you with the box design, placement and promotion of your donation boxes, plus it offers tips on donation amounts and Gift Aid too.

Download Donation Boxes Quick Guides

Giving to Heritage is looking for Fundraising Mentors

Giving to Heritage, run by the Heritage Alliance and the Institute of Fundraising, has been providing high quality, low cost training in all areas of fundraising since May 2014. They are now looking to add to this support for museums and heritage organisations through a fundraising mentoring programme. If you have at least two years of fundraising experience and the time to share it with other organisations, this might be a great opportunity for you.

Previous mentors have said:

“I thought that the IOF Mentoring scheme would be all about me ‘giving back.’ Wrong! The course proved that you can still teach an old(ish) dog new tricks, and the opportunities for networking with specialists from other areas of fundraising were priceless.”

“The training was excellent and I’ve used it in my day job, to help my team develop and it’s been helpful for 1:1s too.”

The scheme offers:

  • an opportunity to share your fundraising knowledge and skills to help another fundraiser
  • a free day of training in mentoring skills, that you can use in your day-to-day work as well as on the mentoring scheme
  • great for your career development, the experience can enhance your management and team building skills
  • support, collaboration, skill sharing and access to new networks through the mentoring group

The closing date for applications has been extended to 26th October.

If you would like to find out more go to to download the form, follow the instructions and submit. Email Amy – to return application forms, or if you need more information.

Applications open for Arts Council England £10m p.a. Museum Resilience Fund

Arts Council England has announced its Museum Resilience Fund of £10m p.a. for the next three years and invites applications from museums of all types and sizes across England.

Arts Council England is the development organisation for English regional museums. At a challenging time for funding in the sector, the focus of our approach for 2015-18 is on building a more resilient museums sector. One of the ways we will do this is through the Museum resilience fund.

The Museum resilience fund addresses the priorities set out in our mission, Great art and culture for everyone, particularly linked to Goals 3 and 4 of our mission [see below]: supporting a step change for the museums sector by enabling museums to become more sustainable and resilient businesses.

The fund will focus on any gaps (geographical or otherwise) or development opportunities across the sector, recognising that excellence and the potential for excellence can be found in museums of all sizes.

A budget of £10million is available for 2015/16, with indicative budgets for 2016/17 and 2017/18 remaining at that level.

Explore the following links when applying to the fund:

Key application information
How we will make our decision

See more at:

The deadline for applications is 6 November 2014 and decisions will be announced by March 2015.

Goals 3 and 4 of Arts Council England’s mission are:

3. The arts, museums and libraries are resilient and environmentally sustainable

4. The leadership and workforce in the arts, museums and libraries are diverse and appropriately skilled