September 11, 2019

130 IMLS Grants to Museums Generate More Than $27.5 Million in Matching Funds
Projects to Foster Lifelong Learning, Collections Care, Workforce Development

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced grant awards totaling $21,726,676 for museums across the nation to improve services to their communities.

Through the agency’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, and a special initiative, Museums Empowered, a total of 130 projects were selected from 511 applications requesting $83,855,805. Institutions receiving awards are matching them with $27,561,604 in non-federal funds.

“We received a very rich slate of applications this year making the award process extremely competitive,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the IMLS Office of Museum Services. “IMLS is pleased to fund projects in museums across America that are making impact on their local communities, helping preserve and make collections more accessible and enriching life-long learning experiences.”

Museums for America supports projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences by serving as community anchors and essential partners in addressing community needs, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to its care. The IMLS website lists the 112 projects funded through this year’s Museums for America program, including:

  • The Denver Art Museum will develop new arts programs for Colorado’s senior population. An outdoor Sensory Courtyard that supports multi-sensory art experiences will be created and maintained by seniors from the community, and a new Create Café program will focus on peer-to-peer engagement and socialization around artmaking.

  • The Sealaska Heritage Institute in Alaska will establish a North West Coast Arts training program to support the needs of underserved individuals and others seeking to advance their skills in creating traditional arts. Participants will learn small business development skills and sustainable approaches to support their self-directed economic goals.

  • The Wichita Art Museum in Kansas will conduct a conservation survey for selected objects from its collections, including works on paper, mixed-media objects, paintings, and textiles to guide strategic conservation treatments in the future.

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff is a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program supporting staff capacity building projects that use professional development to generate systemic change within a museum. The 18 recipient institutions and their projects focus on four categories: digital technology, diversity and inclusion, evaluation, and organizational management. Examples include:

  • The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, will launch the Learning Technology Studio project to improve the ability of its staff to create digital technology tools and experiences that help youth, families, and adults learn about STEM topics. The program will empower staff to collaboratively design, test, and revise technology experiences using simulations, digital media, and AR that can elevate visitor engagement and enhance learning.

  • The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will address critical elements of its new Equity Action Framework to embed equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion into the fiber of its institutional culture. The museum will empower staff to host community listening sessions, explore new partnerships, and develop systems and tools to support board development, program delivery, and hiring and selection policies and practices.

  • The Science History Institute will build an institutional culture of evaluation by providing a series of training, mentoring, and coaching opportunities. The museum will record and edit the sessions to create a training library, ensuring that new staff and board members have access to this work as part of their onboarding process.

  • The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum will implement a leadership training and development program. In partnership with the University of Texas at Austin and the Minnesota Historical Society, the museum will develop custom training on leadership; biases and decision making; organizational communication; change management and organizational culture; and diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.

“Through the Museums Empowered initiative, IMLS is able to support essential professional development for museum staff in relevant areas of need such as diversity and inclusion, digital technology, organizational management, and evaluation,” said Gangopadhyay. “We congratulate all the awardees and hope to see wonderful outcomes.”

IMLS is currently accepting applications for FY 2020 Museums for America and Museums Empowered grants; the deadline to apply is November 15, 2019. Check the IMLS website or subscribe to IMLS news releases for updates.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Museums Empowered
Museums for America