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Museum Grants For African American History And Culture

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Museum Grants For African American History And Culture


Federal Agency




Museum and Library Services Act, 20 U.S.C. 9101 et seq.






Museum Grants for African American History and Culture are intended to build professional capacity in the African American museum community. The goals of the program are to develop and strengthen knowledge, skills, and other expertise of current staff at African American museums; to attract and retain professionals with the skills needed to strengthen African American museums; and to attract new staff to African American museum practice and provide them with the expertise they need to sustain them in the museum field.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants.


Uses and Use Restrictions

Grant funds may be used to support a wide range of museum activities, including staff exchange, mentoring, education, or training, or other strategies that increase the skills needed to improve African American museum services; attendance at museum conferences and other professional meetings; enrollment in courses or workshops; technical assistance or consultation with museum or business professionals from outside the institution; and organizational support for the development and implementation of internship and fellowship programs (awards are not made to individuals). IMLS grant funds may be used only for costs directly related to the project, such as costs for salaries for museum personnel, project supplies and materials, membership fees, telecommunication services and equipment, and other fees or expenses associated with the project. Grant funds may not be used for construction, contributions to endowment funds, social activities, ceremonies, entertainment, collection acquisition, fundraising costs, or pre-grant costs.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An applicant must: be either a unit of state or local government, or a private not-for-profit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code; be located in one of the fifty states of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and qualify as one of the following three types of organizations: (1) a museum whose primary purpose, as reflected in its mission, is African American life, art, history, and/or culture, encompassing the period of slavery, the era of Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and other periods of the African American Diaspora; (2) a museum service organization or association whose primary purpose, as reflected in its mission, is to support museums identified above; or (3) historically black colleges and universities as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. Section 1061, and pursuant to Executive Order 13256, dated February 12, 2002. A museum located within a parent organization that is a state or local government or multipurpose not-for-profit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum (1) is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed heretofore, (2) functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization, (3) has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget, and (4) has the authority to make the application on its own. When any of criteria 2 through 4 cannot be met, a museum may apply through its parent organization, and the parent organization may submit a single application for one or more of its museums.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Public and private nonprofit museums.


Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations also applies.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The standard application forms as furnished by the agency and required by OMB Circular No. A-102 must be used for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

As part of the president's E-government initiative, the federal government developed a single Web site for organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all 26 of the federal grant-making agencies. Beginning with the 2008 grant cycle, the Institute required all applicants to apply online through Applicants who are unable to use should contact an IMLS program officer. The Institute no longer accepts mailed paper applications. For more information on the process of applying through visit

Award Procedure

Proposals are reviewed by field and/or panel reviewers, staff, and the director.


January 15.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Six months.


Appeals may be made in writing to the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Awards will not exceed $150,000 and must be matched by a one-to-one applicant cost share. Applicant cost share may include in-kind contributions.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Projects may be carried out for a period of up to 24 months from the project start date.


Post Assistance Requirements


Grant recipients are required to submit semi-annual performance reports every six months during the grant period, and an annual financial report. Final performance and financial reports are also required at the end of the grant period.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in federal awards are exempt from federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


Grant recipients are required to maintain standard financial statements.


Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $880,028; FY 08 est $827,000; FY 09 est $1,350,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Grants range from $5,000 to $150,000. In FY 07, the average grant was $88,003, and the range was from $35,865 to $150,000.


Program Accomplishments

The program funded 10 projects in FY 07.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

See the IMLS Web site at for the latest program data.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Not applicable.

Headquarters Office

Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, N.W., Ninth Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Contact: Christopher J. Reich, Telephone: (202) 653-4685, E-mail:

Web Site Address


Related Programs

45.301, Museums For America
45.302, Museum Assessment Program
45.303, Conservation Project Support
45.304, Conservation Assessment Program
45.307, 21st Century Museum Professionals
45.312, National Leadership Grants


Examples of Funded Projects

The Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program funds projects that build professional capacity in African American museums.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

See program guidelines.


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