Survive and thrive – AIM’s update on a challenging year

Flexible, proactive and practical, AIM’s work has changed continuously in response to the impact of the pandemic. Below are just some of our highlights from a challenging year.

Ongoing representation and advocacy

  • AIM initiated sustained advocacy with DCMS, Arts Council England, Heritage Fund and others in March and has continuously made the case for support, helping ensure the Culture Recovery Fund was relevant to the needs of independent museums.
  • AIM played a key part in the DCMS working group that informed sector guidance on reopening museums in Summer 2020, producing a bespoke checklist for members in partnership with the Museum Development Network. Click here to see the latest reopening guidance>>
  • AIM continues to drive sector advocacy for a fair and consistent approach to how business rates are applied to museums.
  • AIM continues to promote take up of Exhibitions Tax Relief, launching a free ETR helpline and a related Special Interest Group for Finance Directors. We remain focused on ensuring the sunset clause on the relief is removed.

Grant distribution and support

  • In 2020 AIM allocated £509k in 64 grants to member organisations.
  • £59k of AIM Hallmarks Grants were awarded to nine museums.
  • AIM coordinated professional support for emergency grant applications including those to the Culture Recovery Fund.
  • From 2020-2022 AIM is distributing £125k a year across three conservation grant schemes – including additional funding secured from the Pilgrim Trust.
  • Seven Training Grants went to AIM members across the UK, totalling £1456.

Click here to see the AIM grants currently open for applications>>


Community Building and sharing best practice

  • AIM’s annual conference switched to virtual in June 2020 – ‘Roads to Recovery’ was free to all and attracted over 1100 participants. Click here to find out more and book for the 2021 virtual conference>>
  • Free HR support for AIM members was introduced to assist with accessing the Job Retention Scheme and other pandemic related HR issues. Click here to see more on this HR support>>
  • AIM launched its ‘Tackling racism, tackling inequality’ Response and Action Plan, challenging ourselves and our members to use our
    organisations and our heritage to tackle the inequalities that persist in society. Click here to find out more>>
  • Members continue to sign up for free Charity Finance Group membership with a further 87 museums joining in 2020. Click here to sign up for CFG membership>>
  • AIM membership stands at 1252 including 1050 museum members.
  • AIM published a range of new or updated Success Guides on:
    • Understanding Your Audience
    • Marketing
    • Successful Governance
    • Catering
    • Data protection

You can access all AIM’s resources, including the Success Guides, by clicking here>>

Workforce development

  • AIM continues to be an active participant in the UK museum workforce steering group.
  • AIM has developed an effective, collaborative working relationship with Museum Development providers.

If you’re not already an AIM member and want to find out more about joining us, please click here>> 

For AIM members who want to know more about any of the ongoing work we’re doing to support you, please email the team on