August 21, 2020

Announcing $12.8 Million in Grants to "Save America's Treasures"

Washington, DC—The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced $12,800,000 in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 42 preservation and conservation projects in 26 states.

These grants and the matching funds support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections across America. IMLS will administer 20 of the awards, totaling $3,842,126. Examples of awarded grant projects include:

  • The Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission will use the funds to stabilize, conserve, repair, and restore the Pathfinder Orbiter Simulator. Fabricated from wood and steel by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 1977, the simulator played a fundamental role in the beginning of the nation’s Space Shuttle Program.

  • The Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources will use the funds to improve preservation of and expand access to the collections associated with the Vore Buffalo Jump archaeological site, used by Northwestern Plains tribes as a bison trap from about 1550 CE to the late 1700s. The collections from this site comprise some 23,000 faunal remains and lithic artifacts, which have been core to cross-disciplinary studies of this hunting technique in archaeology, geology, and biology.

  • The Rutgers-Newark Institute of Jazz Studies will use funds to improve the physical condition—including conservation, re-housing, and the installation of storage fixtures—of the William “Count” and Catherine Basie papers. This is the only collection with provenance tracing directly to the Basie family that thoroughly documents his life and career, and includes all of their extant personal and professional papers and photographs, moving image and audio recordings with unique and previously unreleased content, souvenirs and ephemera, library, artwork, select home furnishings, as well as Count Basie’s wardrobe and accessories, awards, and honors.

  • Utah State University will use the funds to improve the management, care, and preservation of and access to the Keller collection, consisting of 2,615 archaeological objects from San Juan County, Utah, known to represent at least 15 documented site locations spanning Basketmaker through Ancestral Pueblo periods (~500 BCE to 1300 CE). The collection consists of lithics and ceramic artifacts as well as seeds, maize, cordage, tubers, plant fibers, clothing, basketry, and faunal materials.

“IMLS is honored to partner with the National Park Service and other federal agencies to support the Save America’s Treasures program,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museum Services. “The grants to be administered by IMLS will help save endangered museum collections and they represent our agency’s ongoing support and commitment to the preservation of our nation’s heritage. Safeguarding these treasures allows us to reflect on the history of our country, our communities, and the people who came before us.”

In 2019, Congress appropriated funding for Save America’s Treasures from the Historic Preservation Fund which uses revenue from federal oil leases to provide a broad range of preservation assistance without expending tax dollars. The program requires applicants to leverage project funds from other sources to match the grant money dollar for dollar. This award of $12.8 million will leverage more than $25.9 million in private and public investment.

“From conserving the papers and artifacts of William “Count” Basie to stabilizing a sandstone cliff dwelling of the Ancestral Puebloan culture, these grants enable educational institutions, museums, tribes, and local governments to preserve significant historic properties and collections for ongoing purposes of inspiration and education,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary, exercising the delegated authority of the NPS Director.

The Federal Save America’s Treasures program was established in 1998, and is carried out in partnership with IMLS, NEA, and NEH. From 1999 to 2018, the program provided $323 million to more than 1,200 projects to preserve and conserve nationally significant collections, artifacts, structures, and sites. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, the grants leveraged more than $479 million in private investment and supported more than 16,000 local jobs.

For a list of all previously funded Save America’s Treasures projects, please view The Impact of the Save America's Treasures Grant Program Map.

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.

Save America's Treasures