December 8, 2017

Contact: Elizabeth Holtan, 202-653-4630

Professional Development Grants Will Help Museums Better Serve the Public
IMLS accepting applications through March 1 Deadline

Washington, DC – The Institute of Museum and Library Services is offering professional development grants designed to help museums respond to the evolving needs of the museum profession and changes in their communities. The program, now in its second year, is a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program, which strengthens the ability of individual museums to better serve their communities.

Eligible entities for Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff are U.S. museums of all sizes and disciplines. Award amounts will either be $5,000-$25,000 with no cost share permitted or $25,001–$250,000 with at least 1:1 cost share. The application deadline is March 1, 2018. See the application guidelines (PDF, 415KB) on the IMLS website for details.

This special initiative will support and empower museum staff to generate systemic change within their museum through professional development activities that cross-cut various departments. It provides support for professional development in four project categories:

  • Digital Technology: for museum staff to fully explore, understand, and optimize the use of digital technology in museums.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: for museum staff to develop cultural competency and support museum relevancy in their communities. 
  • Evaluation:  to expand museum staff’s capacity to evaluate programs, practices, and products and determine measurable outcomes.
  • Organizational Management: for museum staff to learn best practices in organizational management, strategic thinking, innovation and managing change.

“IMLS designed the Museums Empowered grant program in response to a critical professional development need in the field,” said IMLS Deputy Director of Museum Services Paula Gangopadhyay. “In the first year, we received an overwhelming number of high quality project ideas, many of which IMLS funded. We are offering this special funding initiative again this year to continue strengthening museum staff capacity in institutions of all sizes.”

To Learn More

Potential applicants are invited to view three webinars before applying. Two pre-recorded webinars are available for viewing on the IMLS website:

A live webinar will provide applicants more information about the FY 18 Museums Empowered program:

Applicants may also reach out to the IMLS staff members listed on the grant program page to discuss general issues relating to this special initiative.

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 approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. 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.

Museums Empowered