Museums without Borders

The development of museums is one of the priorities of the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and an important part of its strategy to form a community of creative professionals and to consolidate their efforts in solving current public issues. The Museums Without Borders charity program aims to further the Foundation's efforts to support professionals and organizations that can make museums a modern open public institution, a center for education and innovations while also giving additional impetus to the socio-economic development of territories.

We bring together those who are willing to go beyond the usual formats of museum activity, make their own decisions, develop cross-sector cooperation, and ensure the sustainability of outcomes. The joint initiatives of the Program participants are based on common principles and values. We create conditions for unlocking their creativity, developing creative thinking, expanding the possibilities of professional fulfillment and building of partnerships, searching, spreading, and scaling of successful experience.

The Program is based on the Foundation's partnership with grantees, volunteers, and Russian and international museum, cultural, and nonprofit communities.


Our goals:

  • Promotion of successful long-term development and financial sustainability of Russian museums and organizations engaged in museum activities;

  • Strengthening of the role of museums as independent public and cultural institutions, knowledge and innovation centers, and regional development drivers;

  • Development of communication and interaction between museums and organizations from other fields to implement partnership programs and improve their efficiency;

  • Updating the public agenda of Russian museums and integration of museums in the multicultural international landscape;

  • Raising the prestige of museum worker profession, developing the market for specialists that meet the current demand and strategic priorities of museums;

  • Supporting growth of professional and social competence of Russian museum workers.



Expected Outcomes:

By promoting the museum sector, the Program will enable its participants to implement a wide range of initiatives, projects and partnerships beyond traditional forms of museum activities while combining professional knowledge with flexible social skills which are necessary to implement strategic vision, for efficient museum management, interaction with various stakeholders and addressing relevant challenges.

The Program will help Russian museums and museum organizations to consolidate and strengthen their authority as innovation centers and initiators of intersectoral dialogue and territorial development. We are focused on transition from short-term one-time projects to long-term programs and strategic partnerships, ensuring sustainable results.

Museums will be able to diversify their practices of working with heritage, territories, audiences, local communities and organizations from other fields of activity. Raising the status of museums at the local level will promote their integration into international cultural and public space, their transition into open social, educational and innovative centers.


Program Activities:

  • Museum Bridges competition. Making travel grants to museum professionals to empower them with new knowledge in the field. Fellows are selected by independent experts through open call competition based on the professional and leadership skills. Study trips are organized on individual and group basis. There is a special focus on museum administrators and young museum professionals. Competition takes place twice a year. The competition cycle includes: information dissemination and promotion, online application, review and monitoring. Grant funds can be used to visit museums and cultural institutions to study particular topics, to attend conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. Fellows could travel both nationally and internationally.

  • Musuem 4.0 competition. Making grants to museums and other institutions that conduct museum type activities (public, private) to support their projects aimed at the audience development, community development, public dialogue, development of museum sphere in Russia. The grants are given on competitive basis, the competition to be held once a year. The competition cycle includes: information dissemination and promotion, online application, independent review and monitoring.

  • Museum Volunteer competition. Making grants to museums volunteers to develop and implement new skills and to support them.

  • Museum: the Power of Place competition. Making grants to museums to become centers of regional development. The grants are given on competitive basis, the competition cycle would be decided after the completion of the pilot phase. The competition is opened to the participants of the educational program.

  • Making grants to support research that is aimed to help to strengthen Russian museums. Grants are awarded on the rolling basis to research groups that represent museums, cultural, educational and research institutions. 2-3 grants to be awarded each year. Publication of research results on the Foundation website and in professional journals and magazines to make them available for the public and professional community.

  • Organizing and supporting annual Museum Guide forum to discuss key museum related issues, to share and promote best Russian and international practices. Forum brings together museum professionals, experts, professionals of other cultural institutions, NGOs, cultural journalists, researchers. The total number of forum speakers - about 150 people. The total number of Forum attendees - more 20,000 people. Forum is up to one-week long event. Forum results to be published to be available to the bigger community. Forum is organized annually in partnership with Russian Ministry of Culture.

  • Organizing roundtables, discussions, online conferences, workshops, learning sessions, networking and educational activities, publications on the key issues related to museum development, participation in joint activities with other foundations to increase impact.

Success Stories

  • Yelena Dmitrieva and Natalia Nikitina

    The founders of the Museum of Forgotten Taste in Kolomna. This story began in 2008, when Yelena Dmitirieva and Natalia Nikitina won their first grants from the Vladimir Potanin Foundation’s program «A Changing Museum in a Changing World».