Grant Applicants - Program Guidelines

Conservation Project Support Grants – FY12 Guidelines
Application Deadline: October 3, 2011
(Projects must begin May 1, June 1, or July 1, 2012.)

Date Posted: August 1, 2011
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 45.303

IMLS Information

Guideline Contents

  1. Program Information

  2. Eligibility

  3. Registration Requirements

  4. Preparing and Submitting an Application

  5. After You Apply

Questions? See the Conservation Project Support program Web page for IMLS contact info.

Teletype (TTY/TDD) (for persons with hearing difficulty): 202/653-4614

Upon request, IMLS will provide an audio recording of this or any other publication.

Web Conferencing with Program Staff
IMLS staff are available by phone and through e-mail to discuss general issues relating to CPS grants. We also invite you to participate in one of two pre-application Web conferences to learn more about the program, ask questions, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants. See the Conservation Project Support program Web page for date/time information.

Equal Opportunity
IMLS-funded programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Civil Rights Officer, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802.

Office of Management and Budget Clearance Numbers
Guidelines: OMB No. 3137-0029; Expiration Date: August 31, 2013.
Forms: OMB No. 3137-0071; Expiration Date: August 31, 2013.

Burden Estimates and Request for Public Comments
Public reporting burden for the collection of information per the guidelines’ instructions is estimated to average 40 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Institute of Museum and Library Services at 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (3137-0029), Washington, DC 20503.

Public reporting burden is estimated to average 15 minutes per response for the Program Information Sheet, 3 hours per response for the Detailed Budget and Summary Budget, and 10 minutes per response for the Partnership Statement. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Chief Information Officer, 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802; and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (3137-0071), Washington, DC 20503.


1. Program Information

What are Conservation Project Support grants?

The purpose of the Conservation Project Support (CPS) grants program is to help safeguard the collections housed in the nation’s museums so that current and future generations can gain access to and learn from the rich artistic, cultural, and scientific heritage they represent. To achieve this purpose, we award grants to help you identify your conservation needs and priorities and ensure the safekeeping of your collections by implementing sound conservation practices.

Since the program’s inception in 1984, we have awarded 3,383 CPS grants to all types and sizes of museums that care for a very broad range of collections, including art, history, natural history, anthropology, living plants, and living animals.

We support a holistic approach to conservation and have designed the CPS program to assist you in developing progressive, institution-wide approaches to caring for nonliving and living collections. CPS grants may fund surveys, environmental improvements, treatment, and training. The full range of conservation opportunities we support through this program can provide a roadmap to guide your collections care through which you contribute public value to your community.


What is the deadline for applying for a CPS grant?
The FY2012 deadline for CPS grants is October 3, 2011.

Project Start and End Dates

What is the period of time in which my museum can conduct activities funded by a FY12 CPS grant?
Projects must begin on May 1, June 1, or July 1, 2012. Projects must begin on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the final month of the project. Generally, project activities supported by CPS grants may be carried out for up to two years. With strong justification, you may be allowed to apply for three years.

Award Amounts

How much money can we apply for?
CPS grant awards range from $5,000 to $150,000.

Cost Share

Do we have to provide funds from other sources in order to be eligible for a CPS grant? In order to receive a CPS grant, you must provide funds from non-federal sources in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of the grant. Click here for further information on cost sharing.

Categories of Funding

What types of activities can be funded with a CPS grant?

CPS projects fall into one of four general categories:

  • Surveys (including General Conservation Surveys, Detailed Conservation Surveys, and Environmental Surveys)
  • Environmental improvements for collections
  • Treatment of collections
  • Training of staff, volunteers, and students in conservation

You must apply for projects that address your institution’s highest collections care needs. This determination may be made at the institutional, divisional, or departmental level, but you must make it clear in your application how the needs were evaluated and the priority established.

Museums for America (MFA), another IMLS grant program, supports collections stewardship projects such as inventory and intellectual control projects. Thus, requests to support some collections care activities might be more appropriate for the MFA program than for CPS. Please refer to for a list of collections care activities with corresponding program eligibility.

What types of Surveys may be funded by a CPS grant?

CPS grants may fund General Conservation Surveys, Detailed Conservation Surveys, and Environmental Surveys, all of which are described here:

General Conservation Survey

A General Conservation Survey is a broad assessment of all your collections and environmental conditions. Its purpose is to generally describe conditions, identify conservation problems, and suggest future conservation activities. For most institutions, it is the logical first step in collections conservation.

The General Conservation Survey report should include the following:

  • an executive summary
  • general information about your museum
  • goals of the survey
  • overview of your collections, their condition, and policies governing their care
  • descriptions of the condition of your building, facilities, and all exhibition and storage areas
  • descriptions of climate control and environmental conditions
  • information about staffing, including training needs
  • recommendations for future conservation care in order of priority (to be used as the basis of a long-range conservation plan)

If your museum participated in the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) seven or more years ago and is now too large for a ReCAP, you may apply for a CPS General Conservation Survey. Also, if you undertook a General Conservation Survey seven or more years ago, you may apply for another one now. You should explain the rationale for another general survey in the project narrative.

Small to mid-sized museums that need a general assessment of their collections may qualify for the Conservation Assessment Program (CAP), an IMLS-funded program. CAP, like the CPS General Conservation Survey, supports general collections assessments. CAP, however, is limited to funding for up to two consultants for a two-day survey. Museums with large numbers of collections or multiple structures might not qualify for the two-day CAP assessment and might be better served by the CPS General Conservation Survey. More information on CAP is available at and ReCAP at

Detailed Conservation Survey

A Detailed Conservation Survey is a systematic, item-by-item examination of all or part of a museum’s collections by a conservation professional. The end product of a Detailed Conservation Survey should be a set of condition reports that identifies the condition of each object or specimen, its treatment priority, and the cost and method of treatment. A Detailed Conservation Survey should precede any request for a CPS grant to fund treatment.

This type of survey can help your museum:

  • identify conservation problems specific to a particular collection, object, or specimen, including the need for treatment; and
  • establish priorities for treatment and determine the resources and time necessary to address any issues.

Environmental Survey

An Environmental Survey is an assessment of a museum’s environmental conditions, including but not limited to temperature, relative humidity, and light. It is conducted by a conservation professional with input from other types of consultants as needed. CPS funds may be used to survey environmental conditions in exhibition areas, storage areas, and other places where collections are housed.

An Environmental Survey can help a museum:

  • identify specific environmental problems,
  • set priorities for making environmental improvements,
  • design specific solutions for correcting environmental problems,
  • develop a monitoring program to better determine existing environmental conditions, and/or
  • map collections (for living plants).

What activities may be funded by a CPS grant in the Environmental Improvement category?

CPS Environmental Improvement grants support projects that improve or stabilize climatic conditions such as light, temperature, relative humidity, vibration, mold/fungus, pests, or air pollutants. Such projects might involve purchasing supplies, materials, and equipment (including storage furniture) to rehouse and reframe the collection; and upgrading storage, holding, and exhibition areas.

For living plant collections, control of invasive plant species may be supported in this funding category. For living animal collections, this category supports projects that improve or stabilize animal housing conditions. Such projects might involve the purchase of supplies, materials, and equipment to upgrade holding and exhibition areas.

What activities may be funded by a CPS grant in the Treatment category?

You may apply for a CPS Treatment grant to conserve, preserve, or stabilize collections. You must legally own any object or specimen that will be treated using IMLS funding, and you must submit with the application complete treatment proposals for all objects or specimens that are to receive treatment. These proposals must be prepared by a conservation professional and should include the following:

  • identification of the objects or specimens
  • a full description of the objects’ or specimens’ current conditions
  • anticipated treatment costs
  • precise recommendations for treatment, including suggested materials and techniques

If you are applying for funding to treat a large group of objects or specimens that are homogeneous in period, type, or medium, then you are not required to submit specific condition reports and treatment proposals for each object or specimen. You should, however, submit a conservation professional’s report on the entire group, listing each object or specimen.

We will not provide funds to treat objects or specimens solely because they are needed for an upcoming exhibition. Your funded project must address your highest priority need as identified in your conservation survey.

What training activities may be funded by a CPS grant?

You may apply for funds to train staff, volunteers, and/or interns in all areas and at all levels of conservation and collections care. CPS grants in this category also support training of non-conservation staff in preventive maintenance and collections care. Training may also be incorporated into a CPS project in one of the other categories as long as the training portion relates to and supports the project and you submit the required training curriculum in your application.

Examples of allowable projects include:

  • training museum staff, volunteers, and/or interns in basic collections care techniques
  • sending a staff member to a workshop or seminar
  • supporting a conservation internship or fellowship

Acknowledgement and Copyright/Work Products

Read more about Acknowledgement and Copyright/Work Products

Use of Funds

IMLS and government-wide uniform administrative requirements and cost principles rules and requirements, including appropriate OMB circulars, apply to determinations of allowable uses of funds for all IMLS grants.

Allowable and Unallowable Expenses

Allowable expenses for Conservation Project Support grants may include:

  • project personnel (contract or in-house), whose time is necessary for the proper and efficient execution of the project;
  • project consultants and their travel;
  • staff and volunteer training in collections care;
  • internships/fellowships in conservation;
  • repair and stabilization activities that are directly related to the conservation project;
  • micro-environments for an object, specimen, or room (e.g., storage);
  • basic environmental monitoring equipment and conservation supplies, if these items will be used in conjunction with the project;
  • heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to improve collections storage and exhibit environments;
  • educational materials, staff time, and supplies for sharing the impact of the conservation activities;
  • for living plant collections: mapping software for survey projects;
  • for living collections only: those physical improvements that relate directly to the perpetuation of the specimens or species involved in the project;
  • staff time spent traveling to conservation facilities or consulting with conservation professionals;
  • evaluation to show the extent to which the project has met its goals; and
  • indirect or overhead costs (read more about Indirect Costs).

You must justify all proposed expenses in your application budget.

Unallowable expenses for Conservation Project Support grants may include:

  • digitization of collections (see Museums for America grants);
  • general museum fundraising costs, such as development office expenditures or other staff time devoted to general fundraising;
  • general advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other than those related to the specific project;
  • contributions to endowments;
  • acquisition of collections;
  • social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment;
  • construction and renovation of museum facilities;
  • exhibit fabrication that includes creation of large-scale permanent structures for animals or objects that would involve contract labor of the construction trades;
  • inventorying or cataloguing collections;
  • upgrade or installation of a security or fire suppression system;
  • installation or purchase of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment for an entire museum building;
  • reconstruction or renovation of historic sites and landscapes;
  • replacement of architectural details for historical accuracy; and
  • pre-award costs.

(Note: Applicants with questions about the allowability or unallowability of specific activities should call IMLS staff for guidance.)


What are the guidelines for partnerships with other entities?
Partnerships may strengthen a CPS application, if they are appropriate to the project, but they are not required. An application may include one or more partners. The lead applicant in a partnership must be eligible to apply as an individual entity, and all members of a partnership should be active contributors to and beneficiaries of project activities. Read more about partnerships.


2. Eligibility

To be eligible for a CPS grant, you must:

  • be either a unit of State or local government or a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;
  • be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, 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
  • qualify as one of the following:
  1. a museum1 that, using a professional staff,2 is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.3

  2. a public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum may, if necessary, apply on behalf of the museum.

Please note that 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 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 only apply through its parent organization.  A parent organization that controls multiple museums that are not autonomous but which are otherwise eligible may submit only one application per grant program; this single application may be submitted by the parent organization on behalf of one or more of the eligible museums.

IMLS may determine that a non-profit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of these guidelines and the applicable law, including the Assurances and Certifications.  The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

1. Museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.

2. An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one professional staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.

3. An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis.

An institution 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.

An institution that does not have as a primary purpose the exhibition of objects to the general public but that 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. For more information, please see 45 C.F.R. Chapter XI, Subchapter E (Institute of Museum and Library Services).


3. Registration Requirements

Getting a DUNS Number
Read more about Getting a DUNS Number.

CCR Registration
Read more about CCR Registration. Registration
Read more about Registration and Tips for Using


4. Preparing and Submitting an Application


For the FY12 Conservation Project Support grants, will accept applications through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 3, 2011.


Apply for Grants:

Use one of the following identifiers to locate the Conservation Project Support Grants package:
CFDA No: 45.303
Funding Opportunity Number: CPS-FY12

Required Documents

What documents are required and how should they be completed, formatted, named, and sequenced?

Please see the Table of Application Components below. Links to more information and instructions for completing forms are provided in the table. Applications missing any Required Documents or applicable Conditionally Required Documents from this list will be considered incomplete and will be rejected from further consideration.

You should also use this table to determine the format of each document, the name it must be given, and the sequence in which the documents should be attached.

We will not accept file formats other than PDF and will not convert files for you. For assistance in converting documents to PDF, visit Also, please do not send secured PDFs because we cannot process these files.

Please note that, aside from the first two documents listed, all documents must be submitted as PDF documents, regardless of how they were created. Documents listed as IMLS forms are available in both Microsoft® Word document and fill-in PDF formats, and are located on the IMLS Web site. If you do not have Adobe® Pro, we suggest using the Word document to complete the forms. Remember, the Word version must later be converted to and submitted as a PDF.

Append all the documents to the attachments form in the sequence used in the Table of Application Components. Use all the available spaces in the "Mandatory Documents for Submission" box first. If there are more attachments than will fit there, use the "Optional Documents for Submission" box for the remaining ones, following the same naming convention and submitting them one at a time.

You may use this table as a checklist to ensure that you have created and attached all the documents that may be necessary for a complete application. We suggest assembling and uploading your documents in this sequence to assist you in confirming the inclusion of all required materials.

Table of Application Components

Component Format File name to use
Required Documents
The Application for Federal Assistance/Short Organizational Form (SF-424S) form n/a
Abstract (to be uploaded through (one page, max.) Text document that you create n/a
Program Information Sheet IMLS PDF form Programinfo.pdf
Organizational Profile (one page, max.) PDF document Organizationalprofile.pdf
Narrative (seven pages, max.) PDF document Narrative.pdf
Schedule of Completion (one page per year, max.) PDF document Scheduleofcompletion.pdf
Detailed Budget Form (by year, as appropriate) IMLS PDF form Detailedbudgetyear1.pdf
Summary Budget Form IMLS PDF form Summarybudget.pdf
Budget Justification PDF document Budgetjustification.pdf
List of Key Project Staff and Consultants (one page, max.) PDF document Projectstaff.pdf
Resumes of Key Project Staff and Consultants that appear on the list above (2 pages each, max.) PDF document Resumes.pdf
Conditionally Required Documents
Proof of Nonprofit Status (if applicable) PDF document Proofnonprofit.pdf
Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (if applicable) PDF document Indirectcostrate.pdf
Partnership Statement Form(s) (if applicable) IMLS PDF form Partners.pdf
Specifications for Projects that Develop Digital Products Form (if applicable) IMLS PDF form Specificationsdigital.pdf
Survey Form Template (required for all CPS survey project applications) PDF document Surveyform.pdf
A document that identifies your institution's conservation priorities and describes how they were established (if applicable) PDF document Priorities.pdf
Detailed condition reports and/or treatment proposals for each object, specimen, or group to be treated (if applying under the Treatment category) PDF document Treatment.pdf
Sample curriculum or equivalent description of training activities PDF document Curriculum.pdf
Supporting Documents
Information that supplements the narrative and supports the project description provided in the application PDF document Supportingdoc1.pdf



A project abstract should be no more than one page. Insert the text, which you generate through a word processing program and save as a PDF, into the Abstract field in

Information in the abstract should cover the following areas as related to the proposed project:

  • Who is the lead applicant and, if applicable, who are the formal partners?
  • What do you plan to accomplish and why?
  • What is the time frame for the project?
  • What will be the specific project activities, outcomes, results, and/or tangible products?
  • How will this project provide public benefit?

This abstract may be used for public information purposes, so it should be informative to other persons working in the same or related fields, as well as to the lay reader. The abstract must not include any proprietary or confidential information.

Program Information Sheet

1. Applicant Information

a. Legal Name: Enter the legal name of the applicant.

b. and c. Organizational Unit and Address:
If the eligible entity cannot apply for grants on its own behalf, then enter the name and address of the entity in these spaces. For example, if a museum that is applying is part of a parent organization, such as a university, then the university would be the legal applicant, and the museum would be entered as the organizational unit. Be sure to include the four-digit extension on the ZIP code.

d. Web Address: If an organizational unit is listed, enter its Web address here. If not, enter the Web site of the entity listed under Legal Name in Section 1a above.

e. Type of Institution: Select the one that most accurately describes your organization.

2. Grant Program or Grant Program Category
Select d and the appropriate project type designation.

3. Request Information

a. IMLS Funds Requested: Enter the amount in dollars sought from IMLS.

b. Cost Share Amount: Enter the amount of non-federal funding you are providing, which must be at least one-half of the total project cost. Read more about cost share.

4. Museum Profile (Museum applicants only)
Museum applicants must answer all questions (a - g) in this section.

If you indicate a budget surplus or deficit for one or both of the two previous fiscal years on the Program Information Sheet, you should provide an explanation in the application narrative, Section 4: Project Resources. This explanation is intended to assist reviewers in evaluating the financial capacity of your institution to complete the project activities.

5. Project Partners

In the space provided, list all organizations that are partners for the project. Note: Each partner listed in this section is required to complete and submit a Partnership Statement form to the lead applicant for submission with the application.

Applicants for CPS grants should skip these sections.

8. Collection and Material Information
Select the type of collection in Section a. In Section b, select up to four materials primarily involved in the project.

Download Program Information Sheet:

Adobe® PDF (318 KB)

Microsoft® Word Document (118 KB)



Write a narrative that addresses the four components listed and explained below. Limit the narrative to seven single-spaced, numbered pages. We will remove any pages above the seven-page limit, and we will not send them to reviewers as part of your application.

Make sure your organization’s name appears at the top of each page. Use at least 0.5-inch margins on all sides and a font size of at least twelve point. Use Supporting Documents to provide supplementary material.

Reviewers with a variety of professional backgrounds will read these applications and advise us on their merits. They will base their evaluations on the information presented in the application. Your project narrative should therefore be clear, concise, and well-organized with a minimum of technical jargon.

Review criteria are listed below for each section of the narrative. These criteria describe what the reviewers are instructed to consider as they evaluate proposals. Keep these application review criteria in mind when writing your narrative. Be certain to address the bullet points under each of the four narrative sections as you write. Address the four sections of the narrative separately and in the same order in which they are listed below.

Please be advised that reviewers may also choose to visit your organization’s Web site, as listed on the SF-424S form provided with this application.

1. Statement of Need
Provide a justification for the proposed project as it relates to your museum and its collections care activities. Include information such as the following:

  • Description(s) of the object(s) or specimen(s) that define the focus of the project
  • Discussion of the conditions to which they are currently exposed and why they merit attention at this time
  • Explanation of how the project relates tothe museum’s existing collections care activities and how the project supports the museum’s long-range conservation plan and conservation priorities
  • Description of the basis for designating this project as addressing one of the museum’s current highest collections care priorities
  • Detailing of the commitment, financial and otherwise, of the museum and its governing authority to conservation and collections care

Review Criteria:

  • Evidence that the project will address one or more needs identified as among the institution’s highest conservation priorities documented in a professionally executed conservation assessment report, long-range conservation plan, or equivalent document
  • Evidence that the museum is practicing responsible collections care and, if applicable, that previous IMLS grants have enhanced collections care at the institution
  • Evidence that the museum’s leadership has committed resources (e.g. financial, staff, materials, supplies, equipment) to improving overall collections care

2. Impact
Describe the benefits of this project for the collections, the museum, and the community. Address issues such as the following:

  • How direct collections care, organizational capacity for collections care, and/or public awareness of the importance of collection care will be improved
  • How specific audience(s) will benefit from the project and how this benefit will be recognized and evaluated
  • Intended formal products, such as written reports, plans, publications, public programs, outreach, and education, which will result from this project
  • The means by which project activities and results will be shared with various audiences (This could include additions to the museum’s Web site, tours of new storage facilities, and professional publications and presentations to the field. Many strategies that apply to publicizing an award may be used to disseminate project news as well. See

Review Criteria:

  • Evidence that the collections will be better served by the successful completion of this project
  • Evidence that project activities will have a beneficial impact on the institution, its staff, and its audience(s), including but not limited to increased staff capacities leading to improved practice
  • Evidence that the project activities and results will be shared with the museum’s community
  • Evidence of appropriate methods to assess the project activities.

Resources for Evaluating a Project’s Impact
Click here for helpful information about project evaluation.

3. Project Design
Describe the proposed project’s design. Include information such as the following:

  • The project’s scope, goals, and objectives
  • The action steps and activities, including the specific conservation methods and standards, required to implement the project
  • How the project will be managed and how its purpose and progress will be communicated to its intended audience(s)
  • Information about the roles and commitments of partnering organizations, if appropriate
  • Information about any preliminary work or planning (If the project or one closely related to it has been supported by IMLS or other funding agencies, indicate what has been accomplished and the degree to which the project has met its established goals. List any print or electronic publications produced so far as well as Web addresses and other relevant information. Submit this list as a Supporting Document if necessary.)
  • Rationale for using any procedures that deviate from accepted conservation practice and explanation of whether the results would be compatible with other projects that follow existing standards
  • Description of how the project will test the potential applicability of any innovative techniques and procedures that the project is likely to develop
  • For training projects, description of the proposed curriculum, including training materials, training methods, audience served, and intended benefits for the applicant and trainees

Review Criteria:

  • Evidence that the project will meet IMLS conservation program goals
  • Evidence that the project will employ efficient, effective, and reasonable approaches to accomplish clear goals and objectives
  • Evidence that the methodology and design are appropriate to the scope of the project
  • Evidence of appropriate method(s) to assess project activities and progress

Review Criteria for Training Projects:

  • Evidence that the proposed training will increase recipients’ knowledge of conservation and collections care
  • Evidence that the training will have positive benefits for the applicant’s conservation and collections care practices
  • Evidence of the instructors’ abilities to train museum personnel in conservation and collections care

4. Project Resources: Personnel, Time, Budget
Describe the resources, including those funded by the grant and those funded by the organization’s cost share, required to implement and complete the project. Include information such as the following:

  • Identification of key project staff, their duties, and their qualifications for successfully completing their project tasks
  • Identification of consultants and service providers involved in project activities, the process for selecting them, and how they will work with other project staff
  • Qualifications of personnel assigned to manage project finances
  • A timeline for specific activities, showing how the results of one stage of the project carry over into the next one
  • The amount of time that key project staff will devote to the project and how they will balance project responsibilities with other ongoing duties
  • The facilities, equipment, and supplies necessary to support the project
  • Source(s) of matching funds and/or in-kind contributions
  • Source(s) and use of revenues that will be derived from the project, if applicable
  • Contributions to and benefits from the project for both the applicant and partner organization(s), if applicable

If a budget surplus or deficit for one or both of the two previous fiscal years is shown on the Program Information Sheet, provide an explanation as part of this section of the narrative.

Review Criteria:

  • Evidence that the applicant will complete the project activities in the time allocated through the effective deployment and management of resources, including money, facilities, equipment, and supplies
  • Evidence of sound financial management coupled with an appropriate and cost-efficient budget
  • Evidence that the applicant has the ability to meet the cost share requirement
  • Evidence that the project personnel demonstrate appropriate experience and expertise and will commit adequate time to accomplish project activities

For this section of the application, reviewers will consider information provided in the Narrative, Budget Forms, Budget Justification, and Resumes.


Conditionally Required Documents for Conservation Project Support Grant Applications

Proof of Nonprofit Status
If your organization is a private, nonprofit organization, you must submit a copy of the IRS letter indicating your eligibility for nonprofit status under the applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. We will not accept a letter of state sales tax exemption as proof of nonprofit status.

Please consult the table below to determine if any additional documents are required. If any of the conditions in the left column apply to your project, then the documents described in the right column are required. If you do not provide them, your application will be considered incomplete and will be rejected from further consideration.

If your project involves …

Then you must include …

A federally negotiated indirect cost rate

A current copy of your Federally Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement

A partner who will receive grant funds or who will contribute substantive funds to the completion of project activities

An IMLS Partnership Statement form for each partner entity

A digital product (for example, a database of digital images, new software program)

Specifications for Projects that Develop Digital Products Form

A General Conservation Survey

Survey form template that shows the types of data you will collect during your project

A Detailed Conservation Survey

Survey form template that shows the types of data you will collect during your project

A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established

An Environmental Survey

Survey form template that shows the types of data you will collect during your project

A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established

Environmental Improvements

A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established


A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established

Detailed condition reports and/or treatment proposals for each object, specimen, or group to be treated


A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established

Sample curriculum or equivalent description of training activities

A document that identifies your institution’s conservation priorities and describes how they were established might be one or more of the following:

  • A Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) report (funded by IMLS, and administered by Heritage Preservation, Inc.)
  • A Preservation Assistance Grant (PAG) report (funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities)
  • A General Conservation Survey Report (funded by a prior CPS grant)
  • A similar survey report funded by local, state, regional, or private entities
  • A current Long-Range Conservation Plan approved by the organization’s administration and/or governing body

In each of these cases, the document should include a comprehensive, institution-wide assessment of collections, buildings if appropriate, and collections care policies. It should be created by professionally trained collections care experts, most often conservators, who may be from outside the organization. However, a museum with appropriately experienced conservation staff may conduct internal assessments and create its own report. You may submit the entire report, an executive summary, or those sections pertinent to your proposed project. Your submission must, however, effectively identify your institution’s conservation priorities and clearly demonstrate how they were established.

Please note that we will not accept a collections management policy, a catalog/inventory list of objects, a building facilities report, or a strategic plan as a substitute for this document.

Supporting Documents

You may submit other attachments of your choosing as part of your application package, but do not overload the reviewers with too much information. These attachments should include only information that will supplement the narrative and support the project description provided in the application. They should help reviewers envision your project, but they should not be used to answer narrative questions. You may wish to consider the following:

  • Photographs of existing conditions
  • Bibliography of references relevant to your proposed project design or evaluation strategy
  • Floor plans
  • Building structure report, if relevant
  • Previous environmental condition reports
  • Vendor quotes
  • Equipment specifications
  • Letters of commitment from consultants, partners or other groups that will work closely with the applicant on this project
  • Letters of support from subject-matter experts who are familiar with your proposed project
  • Needs assessments (i.e. formal or informal documentation used to justify, evaluate, and plan projects)
  • Reports from planning activities
  • Products or evaluations from previously completed or ongoing projects of a similar nature
  • Collections, technology, or other departmental plans for the institution as applicable to the proposed project
  • Web links to relevant online materials
  • A one-page summary that addresses the theme, content, size, format, etc. of a significant public educational or outreach component of your project

Note: When attaching these documents, give each one a specific title for clear identification. All Supporting Documents must include dates of creation and authorship.

Assurances and Certifications

What Federal Laws Do I Agree to Comply With When I Submit My Application?
As an applicant for Federal funds, you must certify that you are responsible for complying with certain nondiscrimination, debarment and suspension, drug-free workplace, and lobbying laws. These are outlined below and are set out in more detail, along with other requirements, in the Assurances and Certifications. By signing the application form, which includes the Assurances and Certifications, you certify that you are in compliance with these requirements and that you will maintain records and submit any reports that are necessary to ensure compliance. Your failure to comply with these statutory and regulatory requirements may result in the suspension or termination of your grant and require you to return funds to the government.

1. Nondiscrimination Statutes: You certify that you do not discriminate:

  • On the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.);
  • On the grounds of disability, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §701 et seq., including §794);
  • On the basis of age, in accordance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. §6101 et seq.); and
  • On the basis of sex, in any education program or activity, in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.)

2. Debarment and Suspension (2 C.F.R. Part 180 and 2 C.F.R. Part 3185): You certify that neither you nor your principals: (a) are presently excluded or disqualified; (b) have been convicted within the preceding three years of offenses listed in 2 C.F.R. §180.800 (including but not limited to: fraud, antitrust, embezzlement, or offense indicating lack of business integrity) or have had a civil judgment rendered again you or them for one of such offenses within that time period; (c) are presently indicted for or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State, or local) with commission of any of such offenses; or (d) have had one or more public transactions (Federal, State, or local) terminated within the preceding three years for cause or default. Where you are unable to certify to any of the above, you must attach an explanation to this application. You must also comply with applicable sections of the OMB guidance in 2 C.F.R. part 180, and include a term or condition in lower-tier transactions requiring lower-tier participants to comply with subpart C of the OMB guidance in 2 C.F.R. part 180.

3. Federal Debt Status: You certify that you are not delinquent in the repayment of any Federal debt. Examples include delinquent payroll or other taxes, audit disallowances, and benefit overpayments.

4. Drug-Free Workplace: You must provide a drug-free workplace by complying with the requirements of 2 C.F.R. part 3186. This includes: making a good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace; publishing a drug-free workplace statement; establishing a drug-free awareness program for your employees; taking actions concerning employees who are convicted of violating drug statutes in the workplace; and identifying (either at the time of your application or upon award, or in documents that you keep on file in your offices) all known workplaces under your Federal awards.

5. Lobbying Activities (31 U.S.C. §1352): You are subject to various restrictions against lobbying or attempting to influence a Federal employee or a Member of Congress or Congressional employees, in connection with legislation, appropriations, or the award or modification of a Federal contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or loan. Certain additional restrictions apply if you are requesting over $100,000 in Federal assistance.

The Assurances and Certifications contain other general requirements that may apply depending on the nature of your grant activity (for example, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966).

5. After You Apply

What is the application review process?
We use a two-tiered peer review process that includes individual field review and/or panel review to evaluate all eligible and complete applications. Reviewers and panelists are professionals in the field with relevant knowledge and expertise in the types of project activities identified in the applications. They are instructed to evaluate proposed projects according to the criteria identified in the program guidelines. The IMLS Director makes the final funding decisions.

How can I serve as a reviewer?
All competitive awards are reviewed by library and museum professionals who know the needs of communities, can share best practices, and are well versed in the issues and concerns of museums and libraries today.

If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, you may submit your information through our online reviewer application at Please remember to attach your resume. Your information will be considered, and if accepted, your name will be entered into our reviewer database. You will be contacted prior to the next deadline regarding your availability to serve as a reviewer.

There are many benefits to reviewing applications, including enhancing your professional knowledge and serving the museum and library communities. If you are selected to serve, you will be helping IMLS and strengthening our grant review process.

When will we find out if we have been selected to receive a grant?
No information about the status of an application will be released until the applications have been reviewed and all deliberations are concluded. IMLS expects to notify both funded and unfunded applicants of final decisions by late April 2012. Funded projects may not begin earlier than May 1, 2012.