Advice for museums on funding Treasure acquisitions

Fitzwilliam Museum

The basics steps in the valuation and acquisition of Treasure:

  1. The Find is declared Treasure by the Coroner
  2. The Find is provisionally valued by one or more independent expert valuers.
  3. The Find is seen at a Treasure Valuation Committee meeting where it is looked at alongside the provisional valuation(s).
  4. The Treasure Valuation Committee recommends a value for the Find. The interested parties are asked whether they are satisfied.
  5. The Museum is invoiced for the recommended amount.
  6. The Museum is asked to pay within four months of being invoiced.

Upon receipt of the invoiced amount, we write a letter releasing the find to the museum.

Some tips....

Here are some tips that museums have passed onto us whilst they have been going through the funding process. They include information that museums have found useful and so we hope it is something you can make use of when applying for funding.

It may have been several months between your museum expressing an interest in an item and the date of the inquest. The first you will hear from the Treasure Office, after the inquest, is when we send your museum the provisional valuation.

  • Don't panic when you receive the provisional valuation. From the point you receive it you will have at least 2 months (steps 1-5 in the flow-chart left) in which to prepare your application. After the TVC has been held and all interested parties agree the valuation we will send an invoice to your museum. From this date you have up to 4 months to pay the invoice. This provides enough time to submit complete applications to funding bodies, receive responses and also contingency time if things do not go according to plan.
  • Contact the funding sources early and get your options ready for when you do receive the recommended valuation. There is no harm in contacting the funding bodies when you have the provisional valuation (step 2). Even if you do not have the recommended valuations at the point of contacting the funding bodies they will be happy to talk to you and you will be able to start preparing your applications.
  • Approach your local sources of funding, such as the Friends of your museum or local historical societies in good time.
  • Find out when local committees hold meetings/ if they hold meetings. They may have meetings on set dates and so you want to be ready for them in order that you do not miss out and have to wait until the next meeting.
  • Some national funding bodies get back to you with decisions several weeks after your formal applications. Check with them to see how long it might be before they get back to you with a decision. Factor in the possibility that after that period they may ask for further information before they give you a decision.
  • Send funding bodies all the information that is required. Contact us at the Treasure office if there is something you are missing and need, such as copies of images, reports or further information regarding the provisional valuation.
  • It is important that if you receive a donation from an interested party to let us know before we invoice you. This way we can provide the best possible advice of how best to receive this donation and how this will affect your funding applications.
  • Please check with funding bodies before applying to ensure your museum is eligible for that funding.

Contact the Treasure Team at any point if you need advice or more information. Keep us informed- let us know how you are getting on and what time scales you are aiming for.

Tel: 020 7323 8546
Email: treasure@britishmuseum.org

The photo above is from 4colourprogress' flickr stream and is licenced under Creative Commons.

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