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National Leadership Grants for Museums

December 01, 2016
Grant Info: 

Application: The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY 2017 is now available.

Grant Amount: $5,000–$1,000,000

Grant Period: Up to three years

Cost Share Requirement: In order to receive a National Leadership Grants for Museum award, you must provide funds from non-federal sources in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of the request. No cost sharing is required for research projects or projects in the rapid prototyping $5,000 - $50,000 funding level and will not be considered in the review of the application.

Program Overview:

National Leadership Grants for Museums support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. National Leadership Grants for Museums has three project categories:

Learning Experiences

IMLS supports the unique ability of museums to open the door to meaningful knowledge and enhanced inquiry skills for people of all ages and backgrounds through multi-sensory learning, discovery, critical thinking, and problem solving. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that position museums as teaching and inquiry-focused institutions within today's formal and informal learning ecosystem. Successful projects will help the museum field provide high-quality, inclusive educational opportunities that address particular audience needs. We encourage projects that are based upon current research in cognitive and behavioral science as well as best practices developed in museums and other informal learning environments.

Community Anchors

IMLS promotes the role of museums as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, physical space, technology, and other resources to identify and implement solutions. By strengthening museums’ capacities for civic engagement, these projects contribute to the creation of livable, sustainable communities. Museums have a role to play providing civic and cultural engagement, facilitating lifelong learning, promoting digital inclusion, and supporting economic vitality through programming and services. We envision museums to be highly collaborative, adopt co-creating strategies, and engage with a wide variety of cross-sector stakeholders to accomplish a sustained collective impact goal.

Collections Stewardship

IMLS supports the exemplary management, care, and conservation of, as well as broad access to and use of, museum collections. Investments designed to contribute to the long-term preservation of materials and specimens are complemented by skill-building and capacity-expanding programs for museum staff, volunteers, and interns. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that help the museum field address state-of-the-art collections care and collections-information management, curation, preventive conservation, conservation treatments, database creation and enhancement, digitization, and the use of digital tools to facilitate discovery and deepen engagement with museum collections. We welcome projects that demonstrate cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration with libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions.

Eligibility: Museums that fulfill the eligibility 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 non-profit universities, are eligible.

Program Contacts:

If you have questions, please contact any of the staff listed under the category that best fits your project.

Learning Experiences

Community Anchors

Collections Stewardship

Helen Wechsler
Supervisory Grants Management Specialist

Steve Shwartzman
Senior Program Officer

Connie Bodner
Supervisory Grants Management Specialist

Jill Connors-Joyner
Museum Program Specialist

Laura Zamarripa
Museum Program Specialist

Mark Feitl
Museum Program Specialist


Learn more about museum grant programs by participating in IMLS webinars.

A general presentation on IMLS museum grants. We recommend that you view this presentation before participating in a program-specific webinar.

FY17 National Leadership Grants for Museums program webinar.