New Stories New Audiences

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  • Eligibility: small museums with up to 20,000 visitors per annum
  • Grant award: up to £15,000
  • Closing date: Applications closed.


Applications for New Stories New Audiences are now closed.

We know that all museums need to increase and widen their audiences to enhance their sustainability, and to widen participation to groups that are currently under-represented. We want New Stories New Audiences to inspire museums to stay relevant to their audiences and to increase their impact.

Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, New Stories New Audiences is open to all AIM members in the small museum category (up to 20,000 visitors). AIM members in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all eligible to apply.

We will fund projects up to £15,000 that result in a wider range of people being involved in heritage at your organisation. We expect you to have identified a new story that you wish to tell and undertaken some initial research to identify who the new audience will be. We also expect you to work with a new partner, to work differently and to try something new.

Successful projects will be allocated an experienced project mentor and will take part in the New Stories New Audiences network with other successful applicants. At the end of your project, you will be brought together to share learning, contribute to the evaluation of the experience and inform the creation of new resources.

What we will fund

As an example, these are some of the successful projects funded in round 1 (2021):

Provan Hall received £15,000 to collaborate and create an educational resource with local communities to interpret their built heritage and history.

The Museum of Youth Culture received £14,500 for a project working with young people from Hackney’s Black African and Caribbean communities to collect stories, curate and produce an exhibition.

The Scottish Fisheries Museum received £11,896 to create a touring exhibition and series of activities to showcase island life in the Forth, including climate change impacts.

Edeyrnion Heritage and Cultural Society (Corwen Museum) received £10,825 for a project designed to bring together a deprived rural community with an immersive display, bilingual walks, outdoor interpretation boards, in person guided walks and a launch event, all centred around local heritage and landscape.

Birkenhead Priory received £11,600 to develop a 3D tour of the grounds and learning resources for KS1 and 2, collaborating with the area’s multi-faith communities and schools.

Sturminster Heritage Trust received £14,000 to work with young people in Sturminster and in Newfoundland to the explore history of people emigrating to Canada from the 1600s to the 1800s.

Full details of projects funded in the first round here>>

Examples of partners could include a school, local history group, university, local charity, community, social or volunteer groups or individuals such as artists. Examples of new audiences could include members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, people with a disability, young people or local people from particular socio-economic groups.

Your new story could be related to your local area, mission, groups, individuals from the past or present that you do not currently explore. Museums specifically have a unique opportunity to use and develop their collections to highlight discrimination, identify and address missing perspectives, and encourage debate and discussion. You’ll need to find what may spark non-visitors’ interest from among the collections, sites or stories of which you are the custodians. It is a good idea to consult people from those groups to identify what may encourage them to visit and explore further.

Help with your application

Success Guide

You may find it useful to read AIM’s Understanding Audiences Success Guide, which is full of advice on how to undertake research with visitors and make use of the data on who visits you and who doesn’t. Click here for Understanding Audiences Success Guide>>

Contact details

Please do talk to us while you are developing your project and we will tell you whether your project is eligible and help you make your application as strong as possible:

Margaret Harrison, AIM Head of Programmes on

Tonia Collett, Programme Support Officer on

Application process

The application form, along with the full eligibility criteria and terms and conditions can be downloaded below (please scroll down to the resources section at the bottom of the page).

To make an application, please complete and return the application form to Tonia Collett on

Deadline for Applications – Tuesday 31 October 2023

New Stories New Audiences is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to provide this funding scheme to AIM members.

National Lottery Heritage Fund logo
24/06/2021 in Finance New Stories New Audiences terms and conditions

New Stories New Audiences terms and conditions

31/05/2022 in Finance AIM New Stories New Audiences application form 2022

AIM New Stories New Audiences application form 2022

31/05/2022 in Finance AIM New Stories New Audiences guidance notes 2022

AIM New Stories New Audiences guidance notes 2022