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Museum Grants for African American History and Culture

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This federal aid program is managed by:



Museum Grants for African American History and Culture are intended to build professional capacity in the African American museum community. The goals of the program are to develop and strengthen knowledge, skills, and other expertise of current staff at African American museums; to attract and retain professionals with the skills needed to strengthen African American museums; and to attract new staff to African American museum practice and provide them with the expertise they need to sustain them in the museum field.

Funding obligations:

(Grants) FY 07 $880,028; FY 08 est $827,000; FY 09 est $1,350,000.

Uses and Use Restrictions:

Grant funds may be used to support a wide range of museum activities, including staff exchange, mentoring, education, or training, or other strategies that increase the skills needed to improve African American museum services; attendance at museum conferences and other professional meetings; enrollment in courses or workshops; technical assistance or consultation with museum or business professionals from outside the institution; and organizational support for the development and implementation of internship and fellowship programs (awards are not made to individuals). IMLS grant funds may be used only for costs directly related to the project, such as costs for salaries for museum personnel, project supplies and materials, membership fees, telecommunication services and equipment, and other fees or expenses associated with the project. Grant funds may not be used for construction, contributions to endowment funds, social activities, ceremonies, entertainment, collection acquisition, fundraising costs, or pre-grant costs.

Examples of Funded Projects:

The Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program funds projects that build professional capacity in African American museums.

Program Accomplishments:

The program funded 10 projects in FY 07.

Types of Assistance:

Project Grants.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:

Grants range from $5,000 to $150,000. In FY 07, the average grant was $88,003, and the range was from $35,865 to $150,000.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:

Projects may be carried out for a period of up to 24 months from the project start date.

Applicant Eligibility:

An applicant must: be either a unit of state or local government, or a private not-for-profit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code; be located in one of the fifty states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. 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 qualify as one of the following three types of organizations: (1) a museum whose primary purpose, as reflected in its mission, is African American life, art, history, and/or culture, encompassing the period of slavery, the era of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and other periods of the African American Diaspora; (2) a museum service organization or association whose primary purpose, as reflected in its mission, is to support museums identified above; or (3) historically black colleges and universities as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. Section 1061, and pursuant to Executive Order 13256, dated February 12, 2002. A museum located within a parent organization that is a state or local government or multipurpose not-for-profit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum (1) is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed heretofore, (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 criteria 2 through 4 cannot be met, a museum may apply through its parent organization, and the parent organization may submit a single application for one or more of its museums.

Beneficiary Eligibility:

Public and private nonprofit museums.

Award Procedure:

Proposals are reviewed by field and/or panel reviewers, staff, and the director.

Contact Info for Headquarters Office:

Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, N.W., Ninth Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Contact: Christopher J. Reich, Telephone: (202) 653-4685, E-mail:

Website Address:

Related Programs:


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