Below are a number of recurring grant opportunities for collections projects. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. If you are considering applying for a grant and want help finding an opportunity that fits your needs and project, contact your state or regional museum association for ideas.
Please check back regularly. We will update this page as we discover more grant opportunities.
If you know of a grant opportunity that would benefit colleagues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(listed alphabetically by granting agency)
Costume Society of America
CSA Angels Project
The CSA Angels Project supports a deserving collection located in or near the host city of the current year's CSA National Symposium. The site is selected by the Angels Project leadership team, who work with the collection’s staff to create a plan for a one-day, intensive project for the collection's most pressing needs. Supplies are donated by businesses and the museum industry, and the CSA Endowment purchases small equipment and supplies worth up to $2500.
For more information: https://costumesocietyamerica.com/resources/grants-awards-and-honors/angels-project/
CSA Small Museums Collection Care Grant
The CSA Small Museums Collection Care Grant program is designed to assist the costume and textiles collections of small museums that have very limited budget and staff. Funding may be used to support the care, conservation, and/or exhibition of costume and textiles that have historic, regional, or other significance and are intended for preservation.
For more information: http://costumesocietyamerica.com/resources/grants-awards-and-honors/small-museum-collection-care-grant/
College and University Collection Care Grant
The College and University Collection Care Grant program is designed to assist the costume and textiles collection of a college or university that receives little or no financial support from its institution.
For more information: http://costumesocietyamerica.com/resources/grants-awards-and-honors/csa-collection-grant/
Council on Library and Information Resources
The Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Enabling New Scholarship through Increasing Access to Unique Materials is a national grant competition administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for digitizing rare and unique content in collecting institutions. The program's goal is to facilitate complete access to rare cultural artifacts online. Its core values are scholarship, comprehensiveness, connectedness, collaboration, sustainability and openness.
For more information: https://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Collections Assessment for Preservation Program
The CAP program is a joint effort of the IMLS and the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation to help small and mid-sized museums better care for their collections. A CAP assessment is a study of an institution’s collections, buildings, and building systems, as well as its collections care policies and procedures. The assessment involves a site visit by collections and building assessors, who spend two days touring the museum and interviewing staff and governing officials. The assessors then prepare a comprehensive report that outlines recommendations for improving collections care.
For more information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/collections-assessment-preservation-program
Museums for America
The Museums for America program supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public. Museums for America has three project categories:
- Lifelong Learning
- Community Anchors and Catalysts
- Collections Stewardship and Public Access
For more information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/museums-america
Inspire! Grants for Small Museums
The Inspire! Grants for Small Museums is a special initiative of the Museums for America program. It is designed to help small museums implement projects that address priorities identified in their strategic plans. Inspire! has three project categories:
- Lifelong Learning
- Community Anchors and Catalysts
- Collections Stewardship and Public Access
For more information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/museums-america
National Leadership Grants for Museums
This program support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. This program has five project categories:
- Collections Care and Public Access
- Data, Analysis, and Assessment
- Digital Platforms and Applications
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Professional Development
For more information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/national-leadership-grants-museums
Museum Grants for African American History and Culture
This program supports activities that build the capacity of African American museums and support the growth and development of museum professionals at African American museums.
For more information: Visit https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/museum-grants-african-american-history-and-culture
Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program
This program supports Indian tribes and organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians. They 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.
For more information: https://www.imls.gov/grants/available/native-americannative-hawaiian-museum-services-program
The Knight Foundation
The Knight Foundation supports inclusive and equitable engagement in communities where the Knight brothers owned and operated newspapers. Support goes towards three program areas: Journalism, Communities and Art. The foundation gives funds primarily in eight cities where there are resident program officers. Through donor-advised funds in local community foundations, eighteen additional cities are funded.
Resident Program Cities: Akron, OH; Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Macon, GA; Miami. FL; Philadelphia, PA; San Jose, CA; St. Paul, MN
Local Community Foundation Partner Cities: Aberdeen, SD; Biloxi, MS; Boulder, CO; Bradenton, FL; Columbia, SC; Columbus, GA; Duluth, MN; Ft. Wayne, IN; Gary, IN; Grand Forks, ND; Lexington, KY; Long Beach, CA; Milledgeville, GA; Myrtle Beach, SC; Palm Beach County; FL; State College, PA; Tallahassee, FL; Wichita, KS.
For more information: https://knightfoundation.org/programs/
Through its Responsive Grants, the American Art Program seeks to support a wide range of collection-based projects that advance the understanding and presentation of art of the United States. Eligible collection areas include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, decorative arts, naïve and outsider art, traditional and studio crafts, architecture, design, and all aspects of Native American arts.
Prospective grantees are encouraged to consider the reinvigoration of collections, for new and established audiences, as a primary goal. Successful applicants will initiate or apply new research and/or fresh approaches to collection-focused documentation, publications, reinterpretation, reinstallations, and in-house or touring exhibitions. They are encouraged to consider digitization projects in tandem with efforts to place works of art on view.
For more information: https://www.hluce.org/programs/american-art/grant-categories/
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
The National Endowment for the Arts is committed to supporting museum activity that demonstrates exceptional aesthetic investigation and meaningful community engagement. Specifically, the NEA 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 NEA demonstrate artistic excellence in and across a variety of mediums, movements, eras, and cultures. While a variety of artistically excellent projects are welcomed, the following activities are particularly encouraged:
- Celebrate America’s creativity and/or cultural heritage.
- Invite a dialogue that fosters a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.
- Enrich our humanity by broadening our understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a society.
The National Endowment for the Arts encourages applications from: Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, African American Serving Institutions, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities.
For more information: https://www.arts.gov/grants-organizations/gap/museums
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
Public Humanities Projects
The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the humanities to general audiences through in-person programming. Projects must engage in humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. Examples of projects are exhibitions and interpretive programs at historic places. There are planning and implementation grants.
For more information: https://www.neh.gov/grants/public/public-humanities-projects
Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
The 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 such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.
For more information: http://www.neh.gov/grants/preservation/humanities-collections-and-reference-resources
Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions
Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions help small and mid-sized institutions improve their ability to preserve and care for significant humanities collections. Applicants must draw on the knowledge of consultants whose preservation skills and experience are related to the types of collections and the nature of the activities that are the focus of their projects.
For more information: http://www.neh.gov/grants/preservation/preservation-assistance-grants-smaller-institutions
Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections
The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) program helps 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, prolong the useful life of collections, and support institutional resilience: the ability to anticipate and respond to disasters resulting from natural or human activity. Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections offers two kinds of awards: grants for planning and for implementation.
For more information: http://www.neh.gov/grants/preservation/sustaining-cultural-heritage-collections
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
The NHPRC of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America's historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.
Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve online public discovery and use of historical records collections. The Commission is especially interested in collections of America’s early legal records, such as the records of colonial, territorial, county, and early statehood and tribal proceedings that document the evolution of the nation’s legal history. Additionally the Commission is interested in projects to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. We encourage applications that use collections to examine the ideals behind the founding of the United States and the continual interpretation and debate over those ideals these past 250 years. We welcome projects that engage the public, expand civic education, and promote understanding of the nation's history, democracy, and culture from the founding era to the present day.
For more information: https://www.archives.gov/nhprc/announcement/archival.html
Archives Collaboratives: Implementation Grants
NHPRC seeks projects that will make collections from small and under-represented archives more readily available for public discovery and use. This grant will fund Archives Collaboratives to share best practices, tools and techniques; assess institutional strengths and opportunities; and promote management structures for long-term sustainability and growth.
For more information: https://www.archives.gov/nhprc/announcement/collaboratives
(listed alphabetically by granting agency)
Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts
The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts is accepting applications for the Philadelphia Stewardship Program. This program consists of four grant-funded tracks designed to help nonprofit institutions care for their collections.
- Track I: Preservation Needs Assessment - Participants accepted into this track will receive a general evaluation of their institutions' preservations needs. Once completed participants will be eligible to apply for a $2500 matching grant to implement the recommendations of the assessment.
- Track II: Preservation Planning - Participants will work with CCAHA staff to develop a long-range preservation plan. Once completed, participants will be able to apply for a $2500 matching grant to implement the plan.
- Track III: Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning - Institutions will work with CCAHA to conduct a risk assessment and develop immediate emergency respones guidelines. Once completed, participants are eligible to apply for a $2500 matching grant to purchase emergency supplies or training opportunities.
- Track IV: Collections Management Policies Development - Participants will work with CCAHA to develop a set of written collections management policies or revise current policies.
- Track V: Digitization and digital Preservation Policies - Track V allows institutions to work with CCAHA to develop written digital preservation policies.
- Track VI: Create a Project - Organizations whose needs do not align with the offered tracks may develop their own preservation-related assessments or planning projects.
- Mini-assessment: - If an institution is not ready for a full assessment, CCAHA offers a half-day visit followed by list of preservation needs.
For more information: Visit https://ccaha.org/initiatives/philadelphia-stewardship-program. Email email@example.com or call 215/545-0613 to discuss the best track for your institution.
Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums
The CWAM grant program is intended to advance professionalism in museums throughout the region. Funds from the CWAM might help improve collections storage, exhibits or educational programs. This program will help fund software.
For more information: Contact Stephanie Gilmore, CWAM Grants Chair, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.cwam-us.org/services/grants/.
The Denver Foundation
The Greenwood Fund is a donor-advised fund of The Denver Foundation that provides small grants for artifacts and collection care for museums in the Colorado and Wyoming area.
For more information: http://www.denverfoundation.org/Nonprofits/Grants-What-We-Fund/Other-Grant-Programs/The-Greenwood-Fund
Historic New England
The Community Preservation Grants program provides grants to small to mid-sized heritage organizations in the six New England States. Projects should be consistent with Historic New England's strategic agenda goals for regional focus, visibility, and heritage preservation. Collections management projects are funded, including digitizing and sharing collections online.
For more information: Subscribe to the newsletter at https://tracking.wordfly.com/join/HistoricNewEngland/
(listed alphabetically by state)
Alaska Humanities Forum
The Forum offers funding that fuels creative projects that share and preserve the stories of people across the state and explore what it means to be Alaskan.
For more information: Visit https://www.akhf.org/grants
Museums Alaska is pausing all of its grant programs, including the Art Acquisition Fund and Collections Management Fund until further notice. Current applications will be reviewed, but no new applications will be accepted. Museums Alaska is working with funders to determine the best ways to support museums during the current public health crisis and future opportunities.
For more information: https://museumsalaska.org/Collections-Management-Fund
Arkansas Humanities Council
The Council offers a number of grant programs including the CARES Act Grant, Major Grants, Minigrants, Arkansas State Park Field Trip Grant, Helen T. Leigh Museum Field Trip Grant and R.E.A.C.H. Grant. The council’s mission is to award grants that encourage nonprofit groups and organizations to plan, conduct, and evaluate or to participate in projects in the humanities for Arkansas.
For more information: https://arkansashumanitiescouncil.org/how-to-apply-for-a-grant/
Connecticut Humanities is offering general operating support grants for organizations that provide cultural, humanities, and arts-based projects and activities for the public.
For more information: https://cthumanities.org/ct-cultural-fund-operating-support-grants/
Illinois Humanities Council
Illinois Humanities offers a number of grants opportunities in 2020. They include: Community Grants, Activate History Micro-grants, COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants, and Envisioning Justice grants.
For more information: Visit https://www.ilhumanities.org/focus-area/community-grants/ or contact Mark Hallett at email@example.com.
Indiana Historical Society - Heritage Support Grants
The Indiana Historical Society offers local county and regional historical societies, museums and sites grants that support high priority needs including Collections Stewardship, Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion, Sustainability and Planning. Collections Stewardship grants fund projects that address the storage, management and care for collections and associated documentation.
For more information: Visit https://indianahistory.org/across-indiana/heritage-support-grants/ or contact Bryce Gorman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Humanities Council
The Michigan Humanities Council provides funds for projects that serve Michigan's people with public humanities programming and that emphasize collaboration among cultural, educational and community-based organizations. Eligible projects include developing online projects.
For more information: Visit https://www.michiganhumanities.org/humanities-grants/ or contact James Nelson at email@example.com or 517/372-7770.
Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board
The Michigan State Historical Records Advisory Board exists to assist Michigan organizations and institutions in receiving grant assistance for historical records projects. The Board is eager to announce a new round of mini-grants for smaller institutions. The grant opportunity is possible through the NHPRC board partnership grant program.
For more information: http://mshrab.org/?page_id=80
Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grants program supports projects that manage and/or preserve collections for public access. Grants are available in the following history categories: collections care and managment; digital conversion and online access; interpretive programs; museum and archives environments; oral history; publications and research. There are also historic preservation grants.
For more information: Visit http://legacy.mnhs.org/grants/application-process/getting-ready or contact the grants office firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York State Council on the Arts
NYSCA accepts grant applications from nonprofit organizations incorporated or registered to do business in New York State, Native American tribes in New York State and units of government in municipalities in New York State. The Regional Economic Development Council Initiative funding is available for projects designed to enhance and transfer cultural and economic vitality of New York State communities through the arts and culture, addressing REDC initiatives priorities including placemaking and workforce development.
For more information: https://www.arts.ny.gov/nysca-grant-opportunities
Ohio History Connection History Fund
The Programs & Collections grant program encompasses a variety of projects that further the study, recordation, interpretation, publication and dissemination of historical information, engagement of communities in history, or conservation of historical collections and archives. Eligible projects include care and management of collections and development of online applications.
For more information: Contact Andy Verhof, History Fund grant manager at email@example.com or visit https://www.ohiohistory.org/historyfund
Oregon Heritage Commission - Heritage Grant Program
The Heritage Grant Program provides matching grants for projects that conserve, develop or interpret Oregon's cultural heritage. Priority will be given to projects that preserve, develop or interpret threatened heritage resources and/or heritage resources of statewide significance.
For more information: Contact Kuri Gill, Heritage Commission Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 503-986-0673. Visit http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/FINASST/Pages/grants.aspx#Heritage_Grant_Program.
Oregon Heritage Commission - Museum Grant
The Museum Grant Program offers matching grants to public and non-profit heritage museums. Grant funds support projects for the collection and management of heritage collections, heritage-related tourism, and heritage education and interpretation.
For more information: Contact Kuri Gill, Heritage Commission Coordinator at email@example.com or by phone 503-986-0673. Visit http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/FINASST/Pages/grants.aspx#Museum_Grant_Program.
The Vermont Community Foundation
In this time of COVID-19 pandemic response, we recognize that the degree and types of need in our communities is unprecedented and that most organizations are impacted in some way. We are dedicated to supporting COVID-19 response and eventual recovery through our new VT COVID-19 Response Fund and through our existing competitive grant programs.
For more information: https://www.vermontcf.org/NonprofitsGrants/AvailableGrants.aspx
Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Council for Local History
The Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Council for Local History offer a mini-grant program that funds collections care and management projects. Eligible expenses include the purchase of PastPerfect software and its associated add-ons, version upgrades and technical assistance; hardware to improve collections management (scanner, digital camera, computer, external hard drive); acid-free materials for proper collections storage; monitoring equipment for collections storage; dehumidifier; cases/shelving for collections. Fees and/or travel expenses to attend collections care workshops or training are also eligible.
For more information: Visit http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/ and search for "mini-grant".