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Federal Grants

currency-oldFederal granting agencies supporting preservation, conservation, and imaging initiatives include following:

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

1800 M Street NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20036-5841
(202) 653-4657

IMLS supports all types of museums, from art and history to science and zoos, and all types of libraries and archives, from public and academic to research and schools. Eligibility requirements differ for each library and museum program.

View the IMLS handy search template for available grants by name, institution type, or grant activity.

IMLS Museums for America Grant

(Note: Now includes the former “Conservation Project Support” grants)
Deadline passed: December 2013 (New guidelines will be posted 90 days before the next deadline. Use current gudielines until then)
Grant amount: $5,000 - $150,000
Grant period: Up to 3 years
Match: 1:1

MFA grants support activities that strengthen museums as active resources for lifelong learning, as important institutions in the establishment of livable communities, and as good stewards of the nation’s collections. MFA grants can fund both new and ongoing museum activities and programs. Examples include planning, managing and conserving collections, improving public access, training, conducting programmatic research, school and public programming, producing exhibitions, and integrating new or upgraded technologies into your operations.

IMLS/Heritage Preservation Conservation Assessment Program (CAP)

Deadline passed: December 2013 (Email to be notified when new guidelines are posted.)

CAP provides a general conservation assessment of a museum's collections, environmental conditions, and site. Conservation priorities are identified by professional conservators who spend two days on-site and three days writing a report. The report can help a museum develop strategies for improved collections care and provide a tool for long-range planning and fund-raising. CAP is supported through a cooperative agreement with Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)

Division of Preservation and Access
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Rm. 802
Washington, DC 20506
(202) 606-8570

The NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government, dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  Grants for preservation and conservation projects are managed by its Division of Preservation and Access.

NOTE:  "Match Your Project to a Grant Program" - A convenient index of NEH grants by type of project

NEH Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions (PAG)

Deadline: May 1, 2014
Grant amount: up to $6,000
Grant period: 18 months
Match: none

The focus of this program is to promote preservation planning and preservation activities within the country’s smaller libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations.  Activities that can be supported through a Preservation Assistance Grant include preservation needs assessment for analog and digital collections; consultations with preservation professionals to develop a plan to address a specific preservation problem, including digital preservation issues; attendance at preservation workshops, now including training in best practices for digitization; purchase of storage furniture and preservation supplies; and purchase of environmental monitoring equipment.  Note that neither conservation treatment nor reformatting (digitization) are eligible expenses under this program.

The PAG grants could also support first-stage preservation assessment of a/v holdings, to help identify and safeguard materials that might be appropriate candidates for projects using the IRENE3/D technology. See NEDCC Audio Preservation.

NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grants (HCCR)

Deadline: July 17, 2014
Grant amount: up to $350,000
Grant period: up to 3 years
Match: Not required, but in most cases, grants in this program cover no more than 80% of project costs.

The NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities.  Funding from this program strengthens efforts to extend the life of collections materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible. Awards are also made to create various reference resources that facilitate the use of cultural materials. Applicants may request support for implementing preservation measures, such as digitization; preserving and improving access to born-digital sources; rehousing; and conservation treatment for collections, leading to enhanced access. The grants could also support digital reformatting of analog sound recordings, such as those appropriate for the IRENE3/D technology, as well as initial planning and prototyping activity that might be important in certain cases, in order to establish a clear blueprint for full implementation.

NEH HCRR Foundations Grant Category

To help in the formative stages of initiatives to preserve and create access to humanities collections or to produce reference resources, grants of up to $40,000 will support planning, assessment, and pilot activities that incorporate expertise from a mix of professional domains. These projects might encompass efforts to prepare for establishing intellectual control of collections, to solidify collaborative frameworks and strategic plans for complex digital reference resources, or to produce preliminary versions of online collections or resources.

NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Deadline: December 3, 2014 (New guidelines will be posted at least 2 months in advance.)
Grant amount (planning grants): up to $50,000
Grant amount (implementation grants): up to $350,000
Grant period (planning grants): 2 years
Grant period (implementation grants): 5 years
Match: Not required, but in most cases, grants in this program cover no more than 80% of project costs. 

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) grants help cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations by supporting preventive conservation measures that mitigate deterioration and prolong the useful life of collections. Planning grants allow an institution to bring together interdisciplinary teams that might reevaluate environmental parameters for collections and examine passive (non-mechanical) and low-energy alternatives to conventional energy sources and energy-intensive mechanized systems for managing collection environments.  Implementation grants allow an institution to manage interior relative humidity and temperature by passive methods; install heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems; install storage systems and rehouse collections; improve security and the protection of collections from fire, flood, and other disasters; and upgrade lighting systems and controls to achieve levels suitable for collections that are energy efficient. Projects that seek to implement preventive conservation measures in sustainable ways are especially encouraged.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20506
(202) 682-5400

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the federal government. It awards grants that support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.  Grants for conservation and digitization are available through the Art Works program.

NEA Art Works

Deadline: New Guidelines to be announced in January 2014
Grant amount: $10,000 to $100,000
Match: 1:1

Art Works encourages and supports the following four outcomes:

  • Creation: The creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence,
  • Engagement: Public engagement with diverse and excellent art,
  • Learning: Lifelong learning in the arts, and
  • Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.

Through the Engagement outcome, support is available for projects that provide public engagement with artistic excellence across a diverse spectrum of artistic disciplines and geographic locations. These projects should engage the public directly with the arts, providing Americans with new opportunities to have profound and meaningful arts experiences.  Eligible activities include conservation; documentation; provenance research; collections management; reinstallation of collections; community outreach activities; permanent collection catalogues; and technology projects (including digitization).

National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)

8601 Adelphia Road
College Park, MD 20740
(866) 272-6272

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), promotes the preservation and use of America's documentary heritage essential to understanding our democracy, history, and culture.  Applicants are encouraged to contact their State Historical Records Advisory Board Coordinator about proposals and seek the board's advice. Many state boards have requirements for submitting draft proposals with deadlines earlier than those of the NHPRC.

NHPRC is undergoing a redesign on its grant programs. They are in a comment period and are seeking comments from potential applicants and other constituents.  Explanations and links to the announcements are available on the NHPRC blog.

The proposed redesign will offer funding for digitization as part of Online Publishing of Historical Records and as part of Access to Historical Records.

Stay tuned for further deadline announcements here.

For more information, contact:
Nancy Melley
NHPRC Director for Technology Initiatives or (202) 357-5452