June 4, 2020

$1.7 Million in Grants to Strengthen Native American, Native Hawaiian Museum Services
IMLS Funds Projects in Support of Native Heritage and Cultural Preservation

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced 21 grants totaling $1,772,000 to support Indian tribes and organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians.

IMLS received 28 applications through the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services program requesting $2.5 million in funds. The awarded grants generated an additional $360,328 in matching funds. This year, the program received an increase of $300,000 in Congressional appropriations.

“These grants to Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations represent IMLS’s continued priority of helping preserve and support native cultural histories and traditions,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to help advance this essential work.”

A list of all projects funded are available in the awarded grants search. Examples include:

  • The Native Village of Eyak's Ilanka Cultural Center and Museum will purchase a handheld 3D digital scanner to create a virtual reality story for museum visitors to learn about and use tribal artifacts in their traditional manner. Many of the tribe’s artifacts have been widely dispersed, making it difficult for members to see and interact with them. A new exhibition will feature the words and voices of tribal members, particularly elders who can share their stories and historical knowledge. The mobile scanner will also allow the museum to create 3D printed copies of rare items for use in cultural performances.
  • The Hula Preservation Society will provide access to a collection of primary source digital learning resources in partnership with the University of Hawaii system and the Hawaiʻi State Public Library. The society will complete full transcripts of oral history interviews with 25 individual native elders and five elder-based public panel discussions. The project will also provide access for the first time to oral history resources that exist nowhere else, created over the last 20 years with the goal of sharing the memories, songs, and dances of Kumu Hula and native elders with future generations.
  • Koniag, Inc., will partner with the Alutiiq Museum to enhance and preserve 22 seasons of the Alutiiq Word of the Week programs. Airing weekly on public radio, each broadcast features an elder saying a word and sentence in Alutiiq followed by a short cultural lesson. The project team will engage with elders to complete 52 new lessons. The museum will assemble a complete program archive that will be linked to the museum’s collections database and website to provide broad public access.

“IMLS has helped build the capacity of more than 300 Native American tribes and organizations serving Native Hawaiians through this grant program for over fifteen years now,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museum Services. “We are pleased that this year’s grantees will continue to strengthen and sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge through exhibitions, educational services and programming, professional development, and collections stewardship.”

The Native American/Native Hawaiian grant awards were part of $4.4 million in museum grants that IMLS announced this week. The agency also awarded $2.7 million through the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program.

More information about museum grant opportunities can be found on the IMLS website.

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 www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services