The Heritage Lottery Fund has rejected an application from the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum, a Bristol charity, to fund a £1m exhibition marking the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007.
The decision, announced on 12 December, leaves Bristol as the only city in Britain with historical links to the slave trade not to have received government funding to commemorate the anniversary. The museum has protested against the decision, and Professor Stephen Howe from the University of Bristol described it as "deeply disappointing".
A spokesman for the museum said a meeting last month between the fund, the museum and Bristol City Council to discuss the issue had been "amicable and constructive".
The museum is now considering its next move, but has not ruled out resubmitting an application. The fund has never overturned a funding decision, but it does allow applicants to reapply with a modified proposal.