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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 1, 2014 (Watch for 2015 deadline)
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.

Categories include:

Learning Experiences

IMLS supports the unique ability of museums to empower people of all ages through experiential learning and discovery. Successful projects provide high-quality, inclusive educational opportunities that address particular audience needs.

Community Anchors

IMLS promotes the role of museums as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, physical space, technology, and other resources. These projects strive to create a better quality of life within communities.

Collections Stewardship

IMLS supports the exemplary management, care, and conservation of museum collections. Projects address a clearly articulated and well-documented need and contribute to the long-term preservation of materials entrusted to the museum’s care.

Collections Stewardship rojects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Planning for collections management, care, and conservation
  • Cataloguing, inventorying, documenting, and registration
  • Developing and enhancing collections databases
  • Digitization activities designed to improve collections management
  • Conservation surveys. Click here to learn more about surveys.
  • Conservation treatment
  • Rehousing collections
  • Environmental improvements for museum collections storage and exhibit areas
  • Training of staff, volunteers, and interns in collections management, care, and/or conservation

IMLS/Heritage Preservation Conservation Assessment Program (CAP)

NOTE: Transition Statement

The Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) has been a joint project of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Heritage Preservation since its inception in 1990. Primary funding for this program has come from IMLS, with program implementation managed by Heritage Preservation.

While Heritage Preservation is currently in the midst of an organizational transition, IMLS and Heritage Preservation have mutually decided that we will be unable to process applications for the 2015 CAP cycle.

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 5, 2015 - Guidelines Now Available
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.

LEARN MORE: See Frequently Asked Questions about the PAG's.


NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grants (HCCR)

Deadline: July 21, 2015
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 1, 2015 (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

Deadlines: February 19 and July 23, 2015
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:
Documentation, preservation, and conservation of art work, 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) of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America’s historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.

NHPRC Access to Historical Records Grants

Deadline: June 17, 2015 (draft deadline April 3, 2015)
                (NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2016)
Grant Amount: Up to $200,000 for one or two-year projects
Cost Sharing Required

NHPRC seeks proposals that promote the preservation and use of the nation's most valuable archival resources. The grant program is designed to support archival repositories in preserving and processing primary source materials. The program emphasizes the creation of online tools that facilitate public discovery of historical records.

Eligible activities include:

  • Preservation, arrangement, and online description of historical records in all formats
  • Digital preservation of electronic records and unstable audio and visual formats

After completing arrangement and description activities, applicants may also propose to digitize materials to provide online access to collections.

QUESTIONS about the grant?

Contact: NHPRC Program Staff: or 202-357-5010


NHPRC Digital Dissemination of Archival Collections Grants

Deadline passed: December 4, 2014 (Watch for 2015 deadline)
Grant Amount: From $20,000 to $150,000
Cost Sharing is Required

NHPRC desires to make historical records of national significance to the United States broadly available by disseminating digital surrogates on the internet.

Digital Dissemination of Archival Collections Projects may focus on the papers of major figures from American life or cover broad historical movements in politics, military, business, social reform, the arts, and other aspects of the national experience. The historical value of the records and their expected usefulness to broad audiences must justify the costs of the project. The Commission will not consider proposals that charge for access.

Eligible Activities:
Grants are awarded for digitizing documentary source materials. Applicants may digitize a single collection or set of collections for online dissemination. Such online publications should provide basic access to collections. Collaborations among repositories are encouraged.

In addition, applicants may apply for support to undertake more complex work, such as document transcription, tagging, or geo-referencing, if these additional access points are justified by the value of the material and its expected users.

Note: NHPRC has confirmed that reformatting of significant audio materials with IRENE would be eligible under this grant. The materials must already be described and the applicant must be able to demonstrate national significance.

QUESTIONS about the grant?

Contact: NHPRC Program Staff: or 202-357-5010