Want to work with us but short on funds?
We can help — with grants!
We know that museums have to be careful with their funds — and that grants give them the ability to bring in professional development and create or re-invigorate programs for the public. Our Audience Development services are custom tailored to meet the needs of your institution– and many are eligible to be partially or fully funded by grants.
We’ve compiled a list of grants available to museums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada that can help cover the cost of our services. Read on to find out more.
**Note: The following descriptions have been pulled directly from the respective organization’s website. To visit any of the websites and learn more about the grant, simply click the “learn more” link listed after each description.
Challenge America (U.S.)
The Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.
These grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.
Challenge America grants:
- Extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.
- Are limited to specific types of projects.
- Are for a fixed amount of $10,000 and require a minimum $10,000 match.
Dialogues on the Experience of War (U.S.)
The National Endowment for the Humanities offers the Dialogues on the Experience of War (Dialogues) program as part of its current initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War.
The program supports the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war, in the belief that these sources can help U.S. military veterans and others think more deeply about the issues raised by war and military service. Dialogues is primarily designed to reach military veterans; however, men and women in active service, military families, and interested members of the public may also participate.
The program makes awards of up to $100,000 to support
- the convening of at least two sustained discussion programs for no fewer than fifteen participants; and
- the creation of a preparatory program to recruit and train program discussion leaders (NEH Discussion Leaders).
Museums for America (U.S.)
The Museums for America program supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public. The grant amount is $5,000–$250,000.
MFA has three project categories:
- Lifelong Learning
- Community Anchors and Catalysts
- Collections Stewardship and Public Access
Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff (U.S.)
Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff, a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program, supports staff capacity building projects that use professional development to generate systemic change within a museum. The grant amount is $5,000–$250,000.
Museums Empowered has four project categories:
- Digital Technology
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Organizational Management
Our Audience Engagement Workshops and Hack Chats invite staff to learn and discuss high-level audience engagement techniques customized to your museum’s needs.
Public Humanities Projects (U.S.)
The Public Humanities Projects program supports projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences through in-person programming. Projects must engage humanities scholarship to analyze significant themes in disciplines such as history, literature, ethics, and art history. NEH encourages projects that involve members of the public in collaboration with humanities scholars or that invite contributions from the community in the development and delivery of humanities programming.
This program supports a variety of forms of audience engagement. Maximum award amount:
- Planning grants (up to $75,000)
- Implementation grants (up to $1,000,000)
Community Grants (Illinois State)
- Envisioning Justice Grants, Illinois Humanities plans to partner with groups to use the arts and humanities to spark a citywide conversation about the impact of incarceration as well as to reimagine our criminal legal system.
- Illinois Speaks Micro-Grants are $250 and $1,000 grants to individuals and organizations to host public discussions about contemporary issues. These grants allow more people to act as trained facilitators or moderators of public discussion across the state of Illinois.
- Vision Grants are ($2,000) grants to Illinois nonprofit organizations to carry out planning and evaluation projects related to their work in the humanities. These grants are intended for smaller organizations and applicants must have an annual budget of $1 million or less.
- Action Grants are project grants (up to $4,000) to nonprofit organizations located in Illinois or doing work impacting Illinois audiences. Action Grants are meant to provide support to groups that want to try out innovative approaches to public humanities programming. Applicants must be nonprofit organizations, and can include churches, libraries, colleges or universities, and others.
- Multiplier Grants are our largest grant category (maximum $15,000). They are meant to support collaborative projects in the public humanities. Examples of Multiplier Grants might include a number of groups coming together in a given city or town to form a working group trying to attract young families, the development of a citywide plan for nurturing the humanities, or a group of libraries or historical societies working collectively to bolster their public engagement in creative ways.
Preservation Maryland Grants (Maryland State)
The Heritage Fund, a cooperative effort of Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust, provides direct assistance for the protection of historical and cultural resources and promotes innovative demonstration projects that can be successfully replicated to meet Maryland’s historic preservation needs.
The Fund is intended to serve the needs of tangible cultural resources in Maryland. Historic sites, buildings, districts, objects, and archaeological resources are all eligible for funding. The minimum grant is $1,000 and the maximum grant is $10,000.
Nonprofit Capacity Building (Vermont State)
The Vermont Community Foundation awards more than $12 million annually to nonprofit organizations in Vermont and beyond. These grants support a breadth of issues such as hunger, housing, arts, cultural heritage, social justice, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.
CMA Bursary Program (Canada)
The CMA offers three types of bursaries to assist museum professionals in the following areas:
- Conference Professional Development bursaries are given out to assist individuals with the costs of travel, accommodation, per diem and registration fees related to both national and provincial museum conferences. Up to $600 per event and up to $800 in remote areas.
- Emerging Professional Development bursaries are given out to promote the exchange of knowledge and learning between museum professionals at the beginning of their careers. The program provides financial assistance to individuals to attend short courses, seminars, and workshops. Up to $500 per event and up to $700 in remote areas.
- Mid-Career Professional Development bursaries are given out to build new competencies and increase individual and institutional performance. Bursaries are provided for specialized museum studies at a national or international level, such as specialized courses, seminars, workshops and symposia, as well as professional exchanges that promote continuous learning. Amount matches 50% of total eligible expenses up to a maximum of $1,500.
AIM Training Grants (U.K.)
AIM administers grants for museums to help AIM members with a variety of needs including training, conservation and development. There are different eligibility criteria and closing dates for each grant scheme, so please check each grant programme for further information about how to apply and the priorities for funding for each scheme.
- Conservation Scheme is intended to help small museums with the conservation of objects in their collections.
- Collection Care Audit enables small museums to undertake a basic, professional collections care audit. The audits will be carried out by an accredited conservator to help smaller AIM members (museums with up to 20,000 visitors a year) identify key issues and priorities for their museum.
- AIM Training Grants support member museums in developing the skills and expertise of their workforce (paid or voluntary). The purposes of AIM Training Grants are to promote best practice by supporting attendance at conferences and training courses. (Priority will be given to support conference attendance for the first time.)
- AIM Hallmarks Awards grants £3,000 – £6,000 to help museums become more financially sustainable. These are open to Accredited AIM member museums in Wales in AIM’s small museum category (that is, museums with up to 20,000 visitors a year).
- Collections Care Scheme has been set up to help small museums develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections through improvements to collections care within their museum. The grants may enable museums to receive tailored, specialist advice about care of collections, or equipment to implement that advice.
All grant schemes require membership of AIM, which is open to all types of museum and heritage organization.
Curious as to whether our services would be eligible for grant funding? Ready to start drafting grant applications for new projects or professional development? Email us to learn more about our services and discuss applying for grant funding.