June 10, 2021

$2.2 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 26 grants totaling $2,264,639 to support Indian tribes and organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians.

Exterior photo of ‘Iolani Palace 
Haiku Stream in Hawaii
Top: King Kalakaua built ‘Iolani Palace in the late 19th century to enhance the prestige of Hawaii overseas and to mark Hawaii’s status as a modern nation. Photo courtesy of The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace.
Bottom: Papahana Kuaola operates a Cultural Learning Center at its 63-acre Waipao, Heeia site in Hawaii. Haiku Stream is one of many natural features that make Hawaiian culture-based learning experiences possible for students, teachers, families, communities, and visitors. Photo courtesy of Papahana Kuaola.

IMLS received 34 applications through the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services program requesting more than $3 million in funds.

"IMLS’s Native American and Native Hawaiian grant programs celebrate Native heritage through collections preservation, exhibits, and lifelong learning," said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. "The awarded grants will help strengthen Native American and Native Hawaiian organizations through professional and capacity development, and support the wellbeing of their communities. Now more than ever, we are all looking for what we share, what unites us, and how we can better promote equity in our world. What better moment, what better activity, than the announcement of these funded projects and the important work they will do."

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

  • The Suquamish Indian Tribe will update an oral history project conducted from 1981-83 that has guided the development of the Suquamish Museum for over 30 years. The project will engage the 78 Suquamish elders who are 70 years of age and older to document their biographical, cultural, and personal knowledge for use in more contemporary programming and museum exhibits. Collecting oral histories of experiences in the more recent past will guide long range planning and help the museum focus its collections acquisitions for the next foreseeable decades.
  • Papahana Kuaola will strengthen the connection between kanaka (people) and aina (land, that which feeds us) by developing and presenting community-based education programs focusing on the knowledge, use, and growth of Hawaiian food and medicinal plants. Project activities will focus around the 63 acres of conservation land that Papahana Kuaola stewards and the identified native plants that flourish on the property. Participants will learn skills that can be utilized in everyday life while deepening their understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian culture.
  • The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians will create an exhibit plan in its efforts to retain traditional culture and share its history with the local community and others. The tribe will work with a museum consulting firm and conduct a community survey to develop a draft plan for exhibit configuration. The tribe will also establish cooperative relationships with a variety of partners to receive shared content, exhibits, or artifacts which will contribute to the cultural center/museum’s exhibits to provide a holistic view of the breadth of Chemehuevi culture.

“IMLS is honored to support Native American and Native Hawaiian communities in sustaining heritage, culture, and knowledge,” said Christopher Reich, Acting Deputy Director of Museum Services. “We are confident that long-term benefits will result from these wonderful projects.”

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