Archives often have to be very imaginative in order to find funding for important programmes such as conservation, cataloguing or educational projects. So I have been collecting information on possible external funders and have created a directory for future use.
With more than 8,500 funding organisations in the UK alone, a fundraiser should always stay clear-minded! What is the taxonomy of funders? 1. Firstly, the big funders. They generally fund a large spectrum of projects. We find public (or assimilated) bodies like the Heritage Lottery Fund or the Research Councils. Charities such as the Wolfson Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Wellcome Trust (funder of LHSA's current projects) are extremely generous and award annual grants amounting to millions of pounds. 2. Family Trusts, professional bodies and London livery companies populate the second category. They generally give several dozens of thousands of pounds to charities operating in fields related to their main interests. 3. Finally, there are the small trusts distributing a few thousand pounds a year. Their scope of activity is often more restricted - one example is a bursary that is only available for descendants of French Protestant families from the Charente area (north of Bordeaux) who settled in Scotland in the 18th century, to study in Scottish universities!
One other task I’ve been given is to prepare an application for the funding of a touring programme to several British universities to present and promote our case note cataloguing project. It has involved a good deal of costing (transport, meals, accommodation) and my skills have been branded as good as those of a travel agency! At least I have a plan B if not successful in the archive profession…
When not prospecting for external funding, I have visited other collections nearby. Firstly, a tour of the University's Anatomy Museum to admire skull casts of Burke and Hare. And then the archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh where I have been able to discover the surgical tools used by Norman Dott, a neurosurgeon, whose archives I’ve previously been cataloguing. The picture below shows my colleague Liz and I at the College of Surgeons - Liz wasn't too keen when I suggested we try out the instruments!