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IMLS Announces Grants of $2.4 Million for U.S. Museums

July 17, 2015


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard,

IMLS Announces Grants of $2.4 Million for U.S. Museums

Awards will fund projects under three museum grant programs

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced 44 grants to 21 states totaling $2,470,580 for three programs: Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC), Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums, and Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services (NANH).

The list of awardees provides descriptions of funded projects.  

“When we invest in museums, the real beneficiaries are local communities,” said IMLS Acting Director Maura Marx. “The awards we are announcing today will fund a variety of projects to test creative solutions to museum challenges, to strengthen museum operations, and to support the stewardship of our nation’s cultural heritage.”

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 17 projects, totaling $1,407,000, funded by the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program include:

  • The development of audience engagement strategies for Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History’s new exhibition, “Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Towards Equality,” in order to attract new audiences to the museum.
  • The addition of an archives professional to develop a collections survey, cataloging plan, and a preservation guidelines manual to aid in digitizing a collection of more than 100,000 primary source items at the Great Plains Black Museum, Archives and Interpretive Center in Omaha, NE.

More information about the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program can be found on the IMLS website.

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums provide opportunities to expand and test the boundaries of museum services and practices. Examples from the six projects, totaling $139,580, funded this year include:

  • The prototype of a new system developed by Tulane University Biodiversity Institute, New Orleans, LA, for producing 3D reconstructions of fluid preserved specimens that will help protect fragile collections and increase access for researchers and the public while reducing the time and computational costs associated with producing 3D images.
  • A pilot curriculum by the National Audubon Society, New York, that integrates digital mapping applications (GIS) into an existing school program and shares what they learn with other land-based museums through an e-book, a workshop presentation, and a community of environmental educators across the U.S.

More information about the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums program can be found on the IMLS website.

Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services provides opportunities to federally recognized Indian tribes, Native Alaskan villages and corporations, and nonprofit organizations primarily serving and representing Native Hawaiians to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge through strengthened museum services. The funding of 21 projects, totaling $924,000, will support activities including exhibitions, educational programming, and professional development. Examples of funded projects include:

  • Support for the Mo'olelo Storytelling Festival, a performing arts project to showcase the creation and performance of new Native Hawaiian storytelling works – narrative, oli (chants), mele (songs), and hula (dances) -  by the the PA'I Foundation, bringing together master teachers of Hawaiian chant and dance with scholars who will research archival materials and Honolulu Museum of Art collections.
  • The development of an exhibition revitalization plan for the permanent exhibits in theConfederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. The plan will provide for display updates and the incorporation of hands-on interactives, which will improve interpretation of the tribes’ history, provide a more engaging visitor experience, and help the tribe tell its continuing story through a modern lens.

More information about the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services program 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 is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s123,000 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 and Twitter.