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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: December 1, 2015 (Deadline passed - watch for new deadlines)
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 projects 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. 
  • 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 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture

Deadline: December 1, 2015 (Deadline passed - watch for new deadlines)
Grant Amounts: Two levels - $5,000 to $25,000, or $25,001 to $150,000
Grant Period: August 2016 to September 2019
Match: $5,000 to $25,000 - no cost sharing permitted
             $25,001 to $150,000 - 1:1 match

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture support projects that improve the operations, care of collections, and development of professional management at African American museums.

Grant projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:

  • Digitization activities designed to improve collections management
  • Conservation surveys, treatments, and environmental improvements for museum collections storage and exhibit areas
  • Training for staff, volunteers, and educators
  • Institutional, collections, and interpretive planning
  • Exhibit development, design, and fabrication


IMLS Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program

Deadline:  December 01, 2015 (Deadline passed - watch for new deadlines)
Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2016 is now available.
Grant Amount:  $5,000 - $50,000
Grant Period: Up to two years
Cost Share Program:  No cost share requirement

Program Overview:

The Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services (NANH) program supports Indian tribes as well as organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians. These grants are intended to provide opportunities to sustain heritage, culture, and  knowledge through strengthened activities in areas such as exhibitions, educational services and programming, professional development, and collections stewardship.


Eligible applicants are federally recognized Indian tribes, Alaskan Native Villages and corporations, and, organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians.

Entities such as museums, libraries, schools, tribal colleges, or departments of education are not eligible applicants, although they may be involved in the administration of the projects and their staff may serve as project directors, in partnership with eligible applicants. Please see Tribal Organization eligibility criteria.

Eligible grant activities:

  • Conservation surveys, treatments, and environmental improvements for collections storage and exhibit areas
  • Planning for collections management, care, and conservation
  • Training for staff, volunteers, and interns
  • Institutional, collections, and interpretive planning
  • Digitization activities designed to enhance outreach or improve collections management
  • Interpretive and educational program development and delivery
  • Exhibition development, design, and fabrication
  • Digital media development, design, and delivery
  • Publication research, design, and printing
  • Forums for community dialogue
  • Audience development and community outreach
  • Audience research and evaluation
  • Cataloguing, inventorying, documentation, and registration
  • Developing and enhancing collections databases


IMLS / AAM Museum Assessment Program (MAP)

Deadline: July 01, 2016
Application:  Please contact MAP staff  to be added to the application notification e-mail list.

Program Overview: 

The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the American Alliance of Museums. It is designed to help museums assess their strengths and weaknesses, and plan for the future.

A MAP assessment requires members of the museum staff and governing authority to complete a self-study. After completion of the self-study, a site visit is conducted by one or more museum professionals, who tour the museum and meet with staff, governing officials, and volunteers. The reviewers work with the museum and MAP staff to produce a report evaluating the museum's operations, making recommendations, and suggesting resources.

There are three types of MAP assessments:

  • Organizational Assessment: Reviews all areas of operations.
  • Collections Stewardship Assessment: Focuses on collections policies, planning access, documentation, and collections care within the context of the museum's total operations.
  • Community Engagement Assessment: Assesses the museum's understanding of and relationship with its communities as well as its communities' perceptions of and experiences with the museum.


Eligible organizations should select one of the assessment types and prepare an application. Application materials and additional information are located at MAP.

IMLS / FAIC Conservation Assessment Program (CAP)

UPDATE on new program:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) announced a new program to provide museums with collections conservation assessments.

The Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program will build upon the former CAP program (Conservation Assessment Program) that was funded by IMLS and administered by Heritage Preservation for 24 years, until Heritage Preservation ceased operations in 2015.  The new program will continue to support collections assessments for small and medium-sized museums throughout the nation.

The three year partnership will match professional conservators with participating museums to conduct assessments of their collections and will encourage the inclusion of building assessments, regardless of the age of the structures. Other key components to this new CAP program will include linking museums to training and other resources as needed; incorporating a structured follow-up session with museums and assessors; and improving training for and review of assessors.

In the first year of the program, FAIC will focus on development of the systems and infrastructure needed to run the program, such as museum and assessor application and evaluation materials; staff to manage the grant program; the creation of a roster of qualified assessors; and promotion of the program. FAIC plans to announce the first call for applications from museums to participate in the program in fall of 2016 with an early 2017 deadline.  Detailed information will be available at (link is external)  and

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 3, 2016 
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 19, 2016
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 for Foundations projects, and no more than 50-67% of project costs for Implementation projects.

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 Common Heritage

Deadline: June 21, 2016 (for projects beginning January 2016)
Grant amount: Up to $12,000
Grant period: up to 18 months
Match: Not required

America’s cultural heritage is preserved not only in libraries, museums, archives, and other community organizations, but also in all of our homes, family histories, and life stories. The Common Heritage program aims to capture this vitally important part of our country’s heritage and preserve it for future generations. Common Heritage will support both the digitization of cultural heritage materials and the organization of public programming at community events that explore these materials as a window on a community’s history and culture.

The program supports day-long events organized by community cultural institutions, which members of the public will be invited to attend. At these events experienced staff will digitize the community historical materials brought in by the public. Project staff will also record descriptive information—provided by community attendees—about the historical materials. Contributors will be given a free digital copy of their items to take home, along with the original materials. With the owner’s permission, digital copies of these materials would be included in the institutions’ collections. Historical photographs, artifacts, documents, family letters, art works, and audiovisual recordings are among the many items eligible for digitization and public commemoration.


For questions about the digitization component of this program, contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at and 202-606-8570.

For questions about the public programming component, contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Public Programs at and 202-606-8269.


NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Deadline: December 1, 2015 (Deadline passed - watch for new deadlines)
Grant amount (planning grants): up to $40,000
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)

400 7th Street SW
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 - Museums

Deadlines: February 18 and July 14, 2016 (Note two-step deadline process)
Grant amount: $10,000 to $100,000
Match: 1:1

The National Endowment for the Arts assists museums through the support of exhibitions, care of collections, conservation, commissions, public art works, community engagement, education activities, and other museum work. Museum projects funded by the National Endowment for the Arts demonstrate artistic excellence in and across a variety of mediums, movements, eras, and cultures.

Project Types Include:

  • Exhibitions and related activities
  • Conservation, preservation, and/or restoration
  • Innovative uses of technology (Including digitization projects)
  • Collections management of collections
  • Commissions or Public Art
  • Provenance research
  • Public programming such as workshops, lectures and symposia, or other outreach activities
  • Periodicals, publications, or catalogues.
  • Education and related activities for youth, adults, intergenerational groups, and schools. (If your project is for youth, see "Choosing the Right Discipline for Youth Projects" to help you in your discipline selection.)
  • Services to the field


Contact NEA Museum Staff

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 15, 2016 (Optional draft deadline: April 4, 2016)
                (NHPRC support begins no earlier than Jan 1, 2017)
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?

Alexander Lorch

Director, Access to Historical Records