Grant Applicants
Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (Grant Program Guidelines) for the current fiscal year is not yet available. It will be made available 60-90 days before the program deadline. Until then, last year’s Grant Program Guidelines are available as a reference.

Access last year’s Grant Program Guidelines online

Read more about the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries and Museums program on the IMLS website.


Deadline: December 01, 2014
Grant Amount: $10,000 to $25,000
Grant Period: Up to one year
Cost Share Requirement: No cost share requirements.
Program Overview:

The Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums program is a special funding opportunity within the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Museums program, which supports projects that address problems, challenges, or needs of broad relevance to museums. These small grants encourage museums to prototype and evaluate specific innovations in the ways they operate and the services they provide resulting in new tools, products, services, or organizational practices. You may propose activities or approaches that involve risk, as long as the project results – be they success, failure, or a combination thereof – offer valuable information to the museum field and the potential for improvement in the ways museums serve their communities.

To maximize the public benefit from federal investments in these grants, the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums program will fund only projects with the following characteristics:

  • Broad Impact: Your project should show the potential for far-reaching impact beyond your institution, and influence practice across one or more disciplines or specific fields within the museum profession.

  • In-depth Knowledge: Your project should reflect a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matterand an awareness and support of current strategic initiatives and agendas in the field.

  • Innovative Approach:Your project should employ new approaches to strengthen and improve services to benefit the audiences and communities being served.

  • Shared Results:Your project should generate results that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to leverage the benefits of federal investment. Grantees are required to submit a short white paper, or create their own dissemination tool, to be publicly posted and shared with the field.


Museums that fulfill the general criteria for museums may apply. Public or private nonprofit agencies, organizations, or associations that engage in activities designed to advance museums and the museum profession may also apply. In addition, institutions of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities, are eligible.


Program Contacts:

Helen Wechsler, Supervisory Grants Management Specialist

Jill Connors-Joyner, Museum Program Specialist

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