Conservation Project Support


To help museums identify conservation needs and priorities and perform activities to ensure the safekeeping of their collections.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 03/03/2014 (Archived.)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants; Direct Payments for Specified
Program Accomplishments
In fiscal year 2008, 34 grants were awarded.
Museum and Library Services Act, codified at 20 U.S.C. Section 9101 et seq.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
All types of museums, large and small, are eligible for funding. Eligible museums include aquariums, arboretums and botanical gardens, art museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, youth museums, and zoological parks. Federally operated and for-profit museums may not apply for funds. An eligible applicant must be: (1) either a unit of state or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code; (2) located in one of the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and (3) a museum that, using a professional staff, (i) is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes, (ii) owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate, (iii) cares for these objects, and (iv) exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities which it owns or operates. An organization uses a professional staff if it employs at least one professional staff member, or the fulltime equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution. An organization "exhibits objects to the general public" if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. Further, an organization that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year shall be deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis. An organization that exhibits objects by appointment may meet the requirement to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis if it can establish, in light of the facts under all the relevant circumstances, that this method of exhibition does not unreasonably restrict the accessibility of the institution's exhibits to the general public. Please note that an organization which does not have as a primary purpose the exhibition of objects to the general public, but which can demonstrate that it exhibits objects to the general public on a regular basis as a significant, separate, distinct, and continuing portion of its activities, and that it otherwise meets the museum eligibility requirements, may be determined to be eligible as a museum under these guidelines. A museum located within a parent organization that is a state or local government or multipurpose nonprofit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or a cultural center, may apply on its own behalf, if the museum: (1) is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed above, (2) functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization, (3) has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget, and (4) has the authority to make the application on its own. When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may apply through its parent organization. Prospective applicants that cannot fulfill all of these requirements should contact IMLS to discuss their eligibility before applying. The IMLS may require additional supporting documentation from the applicant to determine the museum's autonomy. Each eligible applicant within a single parent organization should clearly delineate its own programs and operations in the application narrative. A parent organization that controls multiple museums that are not autonomous but are otherwise eligible may submit only one application per grant program; the application may be submitted by the parent organization on behalf of one or more of the eligible museums.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Public and private nonprofit museums benefit.
Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for state and local governments. OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations also applies.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
The standard application forms as furnished by the federal agency and required by OMB Circular No. A-102 must be used for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
As part of the president's E-government initiative, the federal government developed, a single website for organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all 26 of the federal grant-making agencies. Beginning with the 2008 grant cycle, the Institute required all applicants to apply online through Applicants who are unable to use should contact an IMLS program officer. The Institute no longer accepts mailed paper applications. For more information on the process of applying through, visit
Award Procedure
Proposals are reviewed by field reviewers, panels of experts, and the director to determine the grants awarded to eligible applicants.
October 1.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approximately seven months.
Appeals may be made in writing to the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
IMLS may extend particular grants at the discretion of the director.
How are proposals selected?
Museums must document that the project is the museum's highest priority for collections care. See program guidelines.
How may assistance be used?
Conservation Project Support grants help museums develop a logical, institution-wide approach to caring for their collections. Collections may be in one of four categories: (1) nonliving, (2) natural history, (3) living plants, or (4) living animals. Grants are available for four broad types of conservation activities: (1) surveys (general, detailed condition, or environmental), (2) training, (3) treatment, and (4) environmental improvements. An institution may submit one application each fiscal year. Applications must demonstrate that the primary goal of the project is conservation care and not collection management or maintenance.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
The Institute of Museum and Library Services requires interim and final reports.
Audits not required for application.
Grant recipients will be required to maintain standard financial statements.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Grants will not exceed $150,000. Grants require a 1:1 match on the total request.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Projects may be carried out for a period of up to 24 months, though 36 months may be approved with strong justification.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Headquarters Office
Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, N.W., Ninth Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Contact: Christine Henry, Telephone: (202) 653-4674, E-mail:
Website Address .
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Grants) FY 07 $2,772,000; FY 08 $2,724,000; FY 09 est $3,801.000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In fiscal year 2008, awards ranged from $8,900 to $150,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
See the IMLS Web site at for the latest program data.
Examples of Funded Projects
Conservation Project Support grants are for general conditions/surveys of museum collections and environments, staff conservation training, treatment of collections, and improving existing environmental conditions to better care for living plant and animal collections.