Libraries and museums are trusted stewards of the objects and information that represent the artistic, cultural, historical, and scientific foundations of our nation’s shared heritage. Through its grants, special initiatives, convenings, and publications, IMLS strengthens the capacities of institutions to manage, preserve, and conserve these important resources. IMLS supports the development of technologies and communities of practice to facilitate access to them.
IMLS funds the Collections Assessment for Preservation program, a joint effort of IMLS and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, to help small and mid-sized museums better care for their collections.
IMLS partners with the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts in preserving nationally significant collections, historic structures, and sites through the Save America’s Treasures grant program.
The IMLS report Connecting to Collections: A Report to the Nation (PDF 3.3MB) emphasizes the importance of caring for our nation’s collections as essential elements in telling the American story. The related Connecting to Collections Care Online Community provides free access to a wealth of resources and assistance designed to help institutions care for their collections.
Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response
IMLS has invested in building the capacity of museums and libraries to prepare for and respond to disasters. As holders of cultural and natural heritage, these institutions can experience catastrophic losses as the result of natural and other disasters; however, they can also be integral to community efforts to recover and build resilience.
IMLS grant-funded projects have ranged from developing emergency preparedness plans and recovery strategies to carrying out post-disaster conservation surveys, treatments, and environmental improvements for collections storage facilities.
Through the Natural and Cultural Resources Recovery Support Function, IMLS collaborates with other federal agencies to help communities address recovery needs after large scale incidents. IMLS is also a member of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership of 42 national service organizations and federal agencies created to protect cultural heritage from the damaging effects of natural disasters and other emergencies.