£700,000 of Scottish Government funding will be used to establish an Urgent Response Fund to support museums and galleries critically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Digital Resilience and Urgent Response Fund will open Wednesday April 8 through MGS's online grants system.
Museums Galleries Scotland says sector feedback has shown that the immediate impact of Covid-19 is being felt most acutely by independent museums and the new fund aims to address the situation.
A total of £400,000 will support accredited, independent museums who care for recognised collections and £300,000 will support non-recognised collections. Unlike MGS's standard grants programmes, the awards will cover core costs and will not be tied to project outcomes.
In addition, the Scottish Government has provided £55,000 of capital funding, available to all museums, to purchase the necessary equipment to work from home and to enable museums to provide digital access to museum collections and activity. The impact of the fund will benefit the sector's digital infrastructure beyond the current situation.
The two new funds are part of a raft of measures in the first stage of MGS's three-phased approach of 'Emergency, Recovery and Resilience' to support the sector in 2020/21. Future phases will support the wider sector to recover and build resilience. MGS will announce further details of these in the coming weeks.
All MGS's regular funding programmes will be suspended until further notice to allow flexibility to respond to the current situation.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:"On average each year, Scotland's museums and galleries welcome 25 million visitors through their doors from all parts of Scotland and beyond.
"Whilst it is disappointing that they have had to close during the Covid-19 crisis, it is the right thing to do to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives.
"Today's announcement of £700,000 reaffirms the Scottish Government's commitment to the sector and will enable Museums Galleries Scotland to offer valuable and much needed assistance to help local independent museums get through these turbulent times."
Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said: "The unprecedented situation caused by Covid-19 has far-reaching implications for Scotland's museums and galleries. The timing is hitting particularly hard as the Easter season is a major and vital income generator for many and the funding from The Scottish Government will be a welcome lifeline to those who need it at this time.
"We ask all of Scotland's museums to keep us informed of the impact of Covid-19 on their organisations so we can continue to respond in this evolving situation."
Museums and galleries in Scotland may be eligible to apply for the emergency funding and measures announced to date, including the rates relief and one-off grants, Third Sector Resilience Fund and the Job Retention scheme and MGS encourages them to do so if they need this support.
MGS is in regular contact with the Scottish Government and other funding bodies and is working with VisitScotland and ASVA to ensure that the specific needs of museums and galleries are understood.
Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for Scotland's museums and galleries. For further information about Museums Galleries Scotland visit www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk The £700,000 of funding comprises of an additional award of £400,000 from the Scottish Government. The remaining £300,000 comes from MGS's Scottish Government grant allocation for 2020/21 which has been adapted to provide immediate support to the sector.