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Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

Grants to USA Nonprofits, Agencies, and IHEs
to Preserve Significant Humanities Resources

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Funding Source:

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National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) - Division of Preservation and Access

Deadline Date:

01/15/20 11:59 PM ET Receipt


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Grants of up to $15,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, institutes of higher education, and government agencies to enhance the care and preservation of significant humanities collections. Funding is intended to help small and mid-sized institutions, such as museums, libraries, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities, preserve and care for their humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings,architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials.

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 on which their projects focus. Applicants should choose a conservator whose specialty is appropriate for the nature of their collections. Similarly, when assessing the preservation needs of library, museum, or archival holdings, applicants should seek a consultant specifically knowledgeable about the preservation of collections in these types of institutions.

The program encourages applications from small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant; community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities; and Native American tribes and Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian organizations with significant humanities collections. An institution that has received a Preservation Assistance Grant may apply for another grant to support the next phase of its preservation efforts. 

For a list of allowable activities, see:

NEH is especially interested in supporting projects that advance humanities related work in the area of “A More Perfect Union”: NEH Special Initiative Advancing Civic Education and Commemorating the Nation’s 250th Anniversary. See for additional information.

In federally declared disaster areas, Preservation Assistance Grants may also be used for the following disaster-related activities:

  • Disaster response, recovery, and mitigation
  • Conservation treatment
  • Temporary storage and relocation
  • The purchase of cleaning supplies and equipment, which may include vacuums,
  • Dehumidifiers, and other disaster remediation supplies
  • The reformatting of collections when appropriate as a preservation methodology

For all the project activities, applicants may combine two or more elements of the project types in a single application. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 181003

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum award amount is $10,000 ($15,000 for projects related to "A More Perfect Union").

Term of Contract:

The project start date is September 1, 2020. All grants are awarded for a period of eighteen months, although a grantee may complete a project in a shorter period of time.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status are eligible (including institutions of higher education), as are state and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. Individuals and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.

Only one application for a Preservation Assistance Grant may be submitted annually by an institution, although distinct collecting entities of a larger organization may apply in the same year, such as the library and museum of a university or two historic sites within a historical society.

Applicants must demonstrate that they
-Care for and have custody of the humanities collections that are the focus of the application;
-Have at least one staff member or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid; and
-Make their collections open and available for the purpose of education, research, and/or public programming.

NEH generally does not award grants to other federal entities or to applicants whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity’s own authorized activities. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects.

The Preservation Assistance Grants program does not support the following activities:
- Capital improvements to buildings and building systems, including the purchase of equipment such as air conditioning systems, lighting systems, and security and fire protection systems
- The purchase of furniture and display cases intended for rotating and temporary displays of collection items
- Development or purchase of software, including but not limited to content and digital asset management systems, except for software related to monitoring the preservation environment
- Purchase of computers

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are due by January 15, 2020, 11:59 PM ET.

- Until January 15, 2020: Contact Division of Preservation and Access program officers with questions and for advice (optional).
- November 22, 2019: Applicants that have not registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) and should begin the process by this date.
- December 27, 2019: Applicants that have registered in SAM and should verify their registrations by this date.
- January 15, 2020: Applications must be submitted through and validated by by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on this date.
- March 2020: Peer review panels take place.
- July 2020: Meeting of the National Council on the Humanities, followed by funding decisions.
- August 2020: Applicants are notified of the funding decisions.
- August 2020: Institutional grants administrators and project directors of successful applications receive award documents by e-mail from the NEH Office of Grant Management.
- September 1, 2020: Successful applicants may begin work on their projects

Applicants must ensure their and registrations and passwords are current. NEH will not grant deadline extensions for lack of registration. Registration in all systems, including and, may take up to 1 month to complete. All institutions applying to federal programs are required to provide a DUNS number.

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Division of Preservation and Access Team
National Endowment for the Humanities
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20506

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming