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IMLS Announces Grants of $1.4 Million for African American History and Culture Museums

July 13, 2017 ET


Press Contacts
Giuliana Bullard

IMLS Announces Grants of $1.4 Million for African American History and Culture Museums

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced 16 grants to museums in 10 states totaling $1,485,955 for the African American History and Culture (AAHC) grant program. More than 32 organizations requested grants totaling $3,076,510.

The list of AAHC awardees provides descriptions of funded projects. States represented among this year’s grant recipients are Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Illinois, and Tennessee.

“Across the country, museums are preserving, sharing, and interpreting the history and heritage of African American life,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “I am proud that through our African American History and Culture (AAHC) grants IMLS continues to support the vital work of these institutions."

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture support projects that improve the operations, care of collections, and development of professional management at African American museums. Examples from the 16 selected projects include:

  • The digitization of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum’s collection of oral histories and interviews of radio personalities, civil rights leaders, authors, and entertainers. With the help of student interns from the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Sciences and work space provided by the historic Carver Theatre, the museum will digitize the entire collection and develop a blog series for public discussion.
  • A multi-component project, “Exploration of African American Physicians and Surgeons,” by Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History. The exhibition will focus on the work of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the founder of Chicago’s Provident Hospital and first general surgeon to perform a documented and successful pericardium surgical procedure to repair a wound. The project is designed to expose young people in the community to the opportunities and benefits of STEM education.
  • The project of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission to create an online database, host community discussions, and develop traveling exhibits based on the Negro Motorist Green Book, the annual guidebook, published from 1936–1966, that helped African-American travelers avoid business owners who refused to serve them. The resource will honor the resilience of previous generations and highlight the importance of often-overlooked historical sites.

The African American History and Culture grant program awards were part of $2.4 million in grants that IMLS announced Friday. Additionally, the agency awarded nearly $1 million under the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grant program.

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

Use the IMLS Search Awarded Grants tool to view our archive of grants awarded by the Institute. Search grants by grant name, institution, or project type.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture