September 6, 2018


IMLS Press Contact
Elizabeth Holtan,

IMLS Investments to Support National Leadership Projects for America’s Museums
13 Museums Pledge $2.3 Million in Matching Funds

Washington, D.C.—The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the selection of 13 projects from a pool of 62 applicants for the highly competitive National Leadership Grants for Museums program.

National Leadership Grants for Museums address evolving needs and trends in the museum field and contribute best practices, tested tools, and innovative partnership models for the entire sector. The projects will receive funds totaling $5,187,402, and the organizations receiving the awards are matching them with $2,304,700 in non-federal funds.

“This year, IMLS refocused the program categories to tightly align with IMLS’ strategic goals and agency priorities around Digital Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, Museum Professional Development, and Collections Care,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the IMLS Office of Museum Services. “We are very pleased to see the field’s enthusiastic response in the form of exemplary projects in these thematic areas.”

The IMLS website lists all projects funded through this year’s National Leadership Grants for Museums, including:

  • The New England Aquarium in Boston will lead the Capacity-building for Youth Civic Leadership for Issues in Science and Society (CYCLIST) project to build a national community of educators from informal science centers to support youth in developing civic leadership skills. CYCLIST will provide 1,200 teens with new opportunities to participate in leadership development activities while helping informal science education centers make youth leadership development a core part of their programming.
  • The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California, will conduct research on the conversations of groups and families encountering an Augmented Reality (AR) experience in a museum environment. The research program will identify which design elements best facilitate conversations among groups of visitors, and determine whether these conversations are both rich in scientific content and gender-balanced. The museum community will gain insights on design principles for supporting collaborative learning using AR.
  • The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, in partnership with the DuSable Museum of African American History, will launch a project aimed at diversifying curatorial leadership and building a pipeline for future leaders in arts administration. The fellowships will provide an opportunity to learn from, engage with, and be mentored by curatorial and museum professionals who are leaders in first voice organizations. Fellows will form a cohort that will come together each year to share experiences and support each other’s advancement.
  • The New Knowledge Organization in New York City will conduct a qualitative meta-analysis of Master’s and Doctoral theses from museum studies programs that address issues of personal and group identity and representation in museums. The intended outcome of the work is to increase museum professionals’ access to and use of research on identity and representation. This will benefit the museum field by helping museums engage with communities and provide inclusive services to people of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

IMLS is currently accepting applications for FY 2019 National Leadership Grants for Museums; the deadline to apply is December 14, 2018. Check the IMLS website or subscribe to IMLS news releases for updates.

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.

National Leadership Grants for Museums