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Museums for America

Grant: Museums for America
Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
Deadline: This grant opportunity closed on December 1, 2014.

Description: Museums for America grants strengthen a museum’s ability to serve the public more effectively by supporting high-priority activities that advance the institution’s mission and strategic goals. Grants can be used for a wide variety of new or ongoing museum activities and programs, including public access, professional development, public programming, exhibitions, development and/or implementation of education programs, or efforts by museums to upgrade and integrate new technologies into their overall institutional effectiveness.

Institutions may apply for projects in the following categories:

  • Learning Experiences. This category supports engaging experiences in museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and the global society. Projects should deliver high quality, inclusive, accessible and audience-focused programs and services for lifelong learning in formal or informal settings.
  • Community Anchors. This category supports efforts to make museums strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities and economic vitality. Projects may include capacity-building activities that position a museum to be more effective in fulfilling its role as a community anchor institution.
  • Collections Stewardship. This category supports exemplary stewardship of museum collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage. Projects should reflect systematic, holistic, logical approaches to the documentation, preservation and conservation of tangible and digital collections to sustain and improve public access.

The FY2014 Museums for America grant opportunity encompasses those types of proposals that were previously solicited through the Conservation Project Support program. IMLS maintains its commitment to collections care, conservation and preservation, and encourages step-by-step, progressive approach to conservation.

Learn more about museum grant programs by participating in IMLS webinars. Click here for instructions.

  1. A general presentation on IMLS museum grants. We recommend that you view this presentation before participating in a program-specific webinar.

  2. FY15 Museums for America grant program webinar

Fit for Public Broadcasting: Only museums are eligible to apply for this grant, but IMLS has stated that partnerships may strengthen applications, if they are appropriate to the project. Read more about what is required of partners in an IMLS grant application here. Applications may include one or more partners. Public media stations may be able to partner with a local museum, especially one that is planning to apply to the Learning Experiences category and lend media, education, teacher training and public programming expertise.

See the program notice for examples of recently funded projects in the Learning Experiences, Community Anchors and Collections Stewardship categories.

Eligibility: Applicants to this program must be either a unit of state or local government or a private nonprofit organization, must be located within the United States and must qualify as a museum. A museum is defined as having a professional staff, being organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes, owning tangible objects and exhibiting those objects to the general public.

How to apply: Applications must be submitted electronically, via Online submission requires registration, a process that usually takes three to five business days but can take as long as four weeks. Be sure to visit and begin registering well in advance of the deadline.

Anticipated funding: Grant amounts will range from $5,000 to $150,000 and will be for a period of up to three years. The average award under this program is $110,000. 190 awards are anticipated for this program.

Program Notice
Program Website
A general presentation on IMLS museum grants

This Grant Center profile is not an official federal document but a brief synopsis of a federal program. Be sure to consult the program website and material as the authoritative source for specific details about the program and application process.


American Graduate Day 2015 Funding Opportunity: Live Studio Remotes and Mini Documentaries (Webinar #2)
This webinar, held May 28, 2015, was the second of two webinars on American Graduate Day 2015 and focused on Live Studio Remotes and Mini-Documentaries grants.
American Graduate Day 2015 Funding Opportunity: Stories of Champions (Webinar #1)
This webinar, held May 27, 2015, was the first of two webinars on American Graduate Day 2015 and focused on the "Stories of Champions" grant.


Read the Grant Center for Public Media's June 2015 newsletter.
Read the Grant Center for Public Media's April 2015 newsletter.