Department for Culture Media and Sport


We sponsor a wide range of museums and galleries across England, from very large establishments, such as the British Museum, to smaller bodies, such as the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield.

Of the 20 museums and galleries we sponsor, 13 were founded by Act of Parliament and are defined as ‘nationals’.

The remaining seven are classed as ‘non-nationals'.

All our sponsored institutions receive Grant-in-Aid funding from us. Details of how much funding individual museums will receive are published in our Annual Report.


Funding agreements set out how the institutions have agreed to use this financial aid to meet our priorities, and how their performance will be measured.

We use management statements and financial memoranda to set out how these museums must operate financially so they are accountable for the government funding they receive.

Our stewardship of sponsored museums is done at arm’s length. We do not intervene in their day-to-day business operations. Each sponsored museum is run by an independent Board of Trustees.  The majority of these Trustees are appointed either by the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State.

Amongst their other responsibilities, the Boards of Trustees are responsible for:

  • preserving and adding to the objects in their collections
  • ensuring that the collections are exhibited to the public and available for study
  • promoting the public’s enjoyment of science, history, art or design through their collections

Back to top