September 19, 2017


Press Contact:
Giuliana Bullard, 202-653-4799

Nearly $2 Million for Museum Professional Development Grants Awarded by IMLS

Washington, D.C.—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced $1,998,484 in funding for 28 training and professional development projects for museums across the country. IMLS received 147 applications requesting $16,770,555 for the new funding initiative that is part of its Museums for America grant program. The grant recipients will match the funds with $2,185,701 in non-federal funds.

“The robust response and high-quality applications to this special funding opportunity in its inaugural year were clear indicators of how this initiative was deemed relevant for the needs of the museum field,” said IMLS Deputy Director of Museum Services Paula Gangopadhyay. “With these grants, all types of museums throughout the nation will be empowered to strengthen their role as vibrant community catalysts.”

See the IMLS website for a list of the recipient institutions and their projects, which include the following examples representing each of the four program focus areas:

Digital Technology

The Digital Transformation Project of the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, to build capacity of the staff to use of a variety of digital platforms to grow audiences and engagement. After building staff capacity with formal and informal training, the museum will develop structures and systems to effectively deploy digital tools, such as an internal content pipeline to share rich, diverse content and media.

Diversity and Inclusion

Orlando Science Center’s training for its entire staff to increase the cultural competency and organizational awareness of the diverse needs of it community. Staff will learn about diversity, inclusion, equitable access to the museum, and other key aspects of cultural competency from expert consultants so that the museum can encourage diverse populations to visit the science center and be inspired to keep coming back.


A project of Michigan Department of Natural Resources (Michigan History Museum) to undertake a comprehensive, three-year project to integrate evaluation into the daily work of exhibit and engagement of staff. Project activities will include gathering data about the museum’s audiences and their needs, hiring an evaluator to train staff in evaluation skills, holding workshops with experts, and building a prototyping space in the permanent galleries.

Organizational Management

The project of Sciencenter of Ithaca, NY, to undertake a comprehensive strategic planning process that will result in an institutional roadmap for decisions and actions over the next five years. External consultants will help the museum conduct internal assessments, site visits, community conversations, and set up an external advisory group to help identify the challenges and opportunities for building a stronger, more focused institution.

See the IMLS website for information about the 2017 Museums Empowered initiative and to watch for the 2018 guidelines, which will become available in the fall of 2017.

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.

Museums for America