Icon’s Impact: Supporting small institutions through grants

01 Jun 2022

Icon’s mission is to represent and support the practice and profession of conservation by promoting the public value of caring for cultural heritage and upholding high standards and ethics in conservation practice.

Icon ensures that the guardians and owners of objects, buildings and collections can access knowledgeable and passionate professionals who will help them safeguard the physical remains of our past for the future.

In 2021, we ran two grant programmes designed to support small cultural institutions dealing with disruption caused by the pandemic.

 

What was the goal we set out to achieve

The Collections Care Stimulus Fund, generously supported by the Radcliffe Trust and others, was set up to support the care and conservation of collections at a time when budgets for the conservation of collections and objects were  challenged.

The Tru Vue ® Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme also supported museums and galleries that needed to make changes to the way their collections are cared for and presented to visitors due to the pandemic.

textile ccsf coldharbour mill.jpg
A historically valuable tillet was conserved by Morwena Stephens ACR at Coldharbour Mill with the support of a Collections Care Stimulus Fund grant of £1,250.

 

What did we do

Collections Care Stimulus Fund

Icon awarded 16 Collections Care Stimulus Fund grants to small heritage organisations with under 100,000 visitors a year.

The programme provided grants of up to £1,250 to support conservation and digitisation activities.

All projects required the involvement of Icon Accredited conservators with the proposed conservation activities. 

The total funding available was £20,000 which was intended to be distributed through two separate funding rounds. However, given the popularity of the programme, it was agreed that the full amount would be distributed in a single round. We received 27 applications  with a grant request of £30,043 to support projects costing £39,262.

A panel of Icon members was convened to review the applications and make the final selection, and 16 grants were awarded. 

 

TruVue ® Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme

To date, Icon and TruVue have run two rounds of the TruVue Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme.

This scheme gives small heritage institutions in the UK access to grants of approximately £2,000 to support conservation and care of collections teams to deliver projects  addressing exhibition and conservation challenges brought on by the pandemic.

The funded projects aimed to protect objects already on display in order to reduce physical contact by members of the public, or to enable objects  not currently on display to be presented to visitors in a safe way.

The grant scheme covers an in-kind donation of Tru Vue® materials as well as funding to cover the materials, supplies and/or support needed to deliver the project.

Three projects funded through the first round of grants were completed by summer 2021, and five projects funded through the second round are underway at present.

The Novium Museum CCSF wallpaper.png

 The Novium Museum was awarded a grant of £1250 from the Collections Care Stimulus Fund to conserve and repackage its wallpaper sample collection. The work was undertaken by Phillippa Mapes ACR.

 

What was the outcome

Between the two grant schemes, Icon funded nineteen projects, with five more being carried out at the moment.

Projects range from conserving The Clan Donald Genealogical Chart at Glencoe Museum to an art collection capturing the history of medicine since 1518 at the Royal College of Physicians.

You can browse through the funded projects on our Grants Gallery page

You can see the full list of projects funded by the Collections Care Stimulus Fund below. 

Bangor University

Project Title

Safeguarding the Sir Charles Harper (1876-1950), St Helena albums

Specialism

Book, paper, photographs

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Rowena Doughty ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to implement preventive conservation measuresin relation to 8 albums containing a variety of manuscripts, photographs and printed ephemera relating to Sir Charles Harper (1876-1950) during his time as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Coldharbour Mill Trust

Project Title

Conserving the Tillet

Specialism

Textiles

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Morwena Stephens ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to conserve, re-glaze and re-frame an 18th century tillet for safe display. A tillet was a loose outer cloth wrapped around a bale of woollen cloth for export in the 16th-18th centuries. The complex design on a tillet showed the name of the manufacturer, in this case ‘Fox’, the company that operated Coldharbour Mill textile factory for about 200 years. This tillet dates from the early years of the Fox Company’s operations, exporting cloth to many countries of the world.

Creswell Heritage Trust

Project Title

Osteological Conservator Review

Specialism

Natural History

Funding

£1,190

ACR Involved

Lucie Mascord ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to carry out an Osteological Conservation Review. To assess the deterioration of objects in the collection, a collection which includes, examples of animal remains that exhibit cutmarks by Homo sapiens, and an extensive collection of faunal remains, such as evidence of hyaenas and other species. To outline appropriate environmental conditioning to support long-term preservation and collections management. 

Elgin Museum

Project Title

Pictish stone conservation and display

Specialism

Stone

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Graciela Ainsworth ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to fund the conservation and display of a Pictish stone. It was found locally on the beach at Kinloss and allocated to the museum as Treasure Trove. The project is important because the stone, an Early Medieval or Pictish fragment of a carved stone cross, is of an unusual design with close comparators with a Class II Pictish stone already part of our display of local carved stones.

Exeter Cathedral Library & Archive

Project Title

Fragile Fragments

Specialism

Manuscripts

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Deborah Phillips ACR

Overview

The project will greatly improve the condution and log-term preservation of a rare collection of c. 100 parchment manuscript fragments, principally from the medieval period.

Glencoe Folk Museum

Project Title

Digitising the Clan Donald Genealogical Chart, 1814

Specialism

Digitisation

Funding

£1,073

ACR Involved

Ticca Ogilvie ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to fund the production of a reproduction quality whole image of our Clan Donald Genealogical Chart. The chart is exceptionally large (990 mm x 1320 mm) which makes conservator-supervised handling a priority. Its size is also the reason why substantial post-processing in the form of stitching and blending of section photographs will be necessary. Advice sought from a specialist museum digitising photographer recommends that the object is removed from its frame and protective glazing to ensure that reflections and shadows do not affect image quality.

Museum in the Park (Stroud District Council)

Project Title

Condition Checking and Conserving a Case of Birds 

Specialism

Taxidermy

Funding

£1,073

ACR Involved

Simon Moore ACR

Overview

This case of 12 taxidermy birds has been identified as having suffered insect pest damage and as such, proper investigation of it is an action within our Care and Conservation Plan. Careful monitoring of the specimens leads us to believe that the pests are no longer active, but we do not know when the infestation took place, nor at this stage the full extent of the damage. This grant will be used to pay for a conservator to open the case, remove the specimens and treat them as regards the pests, before cleaning and stabilising areas of damage, photographing the specimens and finally replacing the birds in their setting.

North Hertfordshire Museum

Project Title

Conservation of the Kelshall Treasure

Specialism

Bronze

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Alison Foster ACR

Overview

In 2014 a metal detectorist discovered a bronze jug and dish in a field near Royston, Hertfordshire. The North Herts. museum archaeologist organised an excavation which uncovered a remarkable collection of high-status Romano-British funerary items. The collection included two bronze jugs which is the focus of this project. The grant would be used for conservation of one of the bronze jugs and one bronze corner finding because they are showing signs of bronze disease, so need urgent attention.

Novium Museum

Project Title

Preventive and Remedial Conservation of 18th C Wallpaper Samples

Specialism

Art on Paper / Preventive

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Phillippa Mapes ACR

Overview

This grant funding will be utilised to pay for the preventive and remedial conservation and curatorial research of 28 18th century wallpaper samples from The Novium Museum. The samples come from three different sources: 1) The former premises of The Dolphin and The Anchor Inns, Chichester, which combined in 1910 to form The Dolphin & Anchor hotel. The samples were taken during archaeological monitoring in 1998, prior to the buildings refurbishment and alteration to retail usage. 2) The upstairs bedroom of No. 19 Westgate, Chichester. 3) An upstairs room of No 77 North Street, Chichester, currently occupied by Boots Opticians.

Portsmouth Museum

Project Title

Historic taxidermy bat 

Specialism

Taxidermy

Funding

£328

ACR Involved

Simon Moore ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to conserve a late eighteenth century noctule bat, prepared by taxidermist Thomas Hall of 8 Twisters Alley, Bunhill Row, near Moorfields, London. The date on the case (1779) is contemporary with the earliest known written records about the company. Most (later) labels locate Thomas Hall to City Road, Finsbury, London.

RAF College at Cranwell

Project Title

Conservation of four Second World War silk escape maps

Specialism

Silk maps

Funding

£877

ACR Involved

Michelle Harper ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to pay for the conservation (comprising documentation, photographing, wet cleaning, laying out flat and packing in melynex) of four good examples of silk escape maps dating from the Second World War.

Royal Cornwall Museum

Project Title

Collections on the move

Specialism

Inventory and transportation

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Helena Jaeschke ACR

Overview

Our plan is to re-locate the collections (currently held off site) to spaces within the museum that were formerly offices. The Collections on the Move project will be led by the Creative Director, with specialist advice from Helena Jaeschke ACR and support from key volunteers and the Collections team.  This will include establishing new on-site stores, completing a full inventory of the off-site store, updating catalogues, packing, transporting and unpacking collections.  

St Wulfram’s Church, Grantham

Project Title

Trigge Library – remedial conservation

Specialism

Books

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Bridget Warrington

Overview

In July 2020, Bridget Warrington MA ACR was appointed to carry out a conservation condition survey of the Trigge Library – a chained library established by Francis Trigge in 1598 situated above the south porch of St Wulfram’s Church. The survey, funded by ChurchCare, assessed all 330 pre-eighteenth-century books (of which 84 are chained) and prioritised the damaged books as high, medium and low. The survey also examined environmental conditions in the library, cleaning routines, handling training, display protocols and all other preservation aspects.

Of the 28 books assessed as having a high level of damage, 10 books had active furniture beetle infestations. These books have now undergone freezing deinfestation at Harwell Restoration. The bindings have been surfaced-cleaned and are now in isolation pending further checks and funding for remedial work. The grant will be used to fund the conservation of three of these deinfested books – C.17, H.02 and A.06. H.02 contains, as an endpaper, verses printed for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester’s funeral in 1588. Only one other copy exists of this extremely rare work.

The Cartoon Museum

Project Title

Restoring Roy: Conservation of an original Spitting Image puppet

Specialism

Textile puppet

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Janie Lightfoot ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to fund the conservation of an original Spitting Image puppet in the Cartoon Museum’s permanent collection.  This object is made from latex foam and is showing signs of degradation. This came to the Cartoon Museum Curator’s attention when she noticed flakes of latex foam from the internal puppet which had fallen onto the object mount. The Cartoon Museum do not have an internal Conservator and therefore require external expertise to assess the extent of degradation and conservation needs, and to stabilize the object and mitigate further degradation.

University of St Andrews, Libraries and Museums

Project Title

Conservation of Library borrowing register

Specialism

Book/paper

Funding

£1,035

ACR Involved

Emma Fraser ACR

Overview

The grant will fund the repair of a Library receipt book, which records the borrowings from the library of the University of St Andrews from 1786-92. The volume is boxed and unfit for production due to fragility of the sewing structure and binding. The aim of the treatment is to stabilise the volume to enable digitisation while retaining as much original material as possible. This volume is an integral part of a series of ledgers kept to record the borrowings of professors and others between 1773-1925. Together with the student receipt books (1768-1925), these include over 100,000 records of borrowings at St Andrews between 1750-1830.

Westminster Diocesan Archives

Project Title

1871-1882 baptismal register for the RC church of St Mary Moorfields

Specialism

Book/paper

Funding

£1,250

ACR Involved

Ian Watson ACR

Overview

The grant will be used to conserve this important sacramental register relating to one of the oldest post-Reformation Catholic parishes in the UK. (St Mary Moorfields was at one time the only Roman Catholic church in the City of London). The register covers a period that saw rapid growth in London’s Catholic population, and contains details of hundreds of individuals from all walks of life but often the very poorest, many of them immigrants and refugees. It is invaluable to both academics and genealogists alike, but its condition prevents it being accessed for research.

 

We can not thank you enough for the support form Icon – it enabled us to bring an extra level of professionalism to the project and undoubtedly challenged us to complete the project in a timely fashion and to a very high standard. And, in achieving this, our volunteer have done sterling work, and are now fully versed in the associated collections care and management skills. It’s been a great project to work on and a real achievement for all the team. 

- Royal Cornwall Museum

What did we learn

As grant managers, we gained experience in managing funds, supporting the selection process (the Grants Committee is comprised of voluntary Icon members), maintaining relationships with grantees and collecting  and presenting project documentation.

We were reminded that many small institutions do not have in-house conservation experts or significant budgets set aside for conservation, so accessing funding through grant programmes can make a huge difference. The enthusiasm for the two grant schemes and the fact that they were oversubscribed shows that there is an ongoing need for this small-scale level of project support.

I would like to say how grateful we are to Icon for helping to fund the conservation of this important archive. The results are excellent, the volume is now in wonderful condition, and we can now proceed with our plans to get it digitised and disseminated. Without Icon's help at this time, we simply would not have been able to proceed with the work. 

- Westminster Diocesan Archives

 

What will we do next

As Icon’s mission is to champion the care of collections and to ensure people can access knowledgeable and passionate professionals to help them care for objects and buildings, we will to continue to forge partnerships with funders and run grant programmes to support institutions to care for their collections.

We will also continue to look for ways to support the fragile ecosystem of microbusinesses and freelance conservators who provide vital services to small museums.

 

 

Related topics