Funding Sources

Because funding programs and proposal deadlines vary from year to year, please refer to each agency for submission guidelines.

Agency Description
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

IMLS provides a number of grants for collections preservation including the following:
Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) is a cooperative program between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Heritage Preservation. The general conservation assessment (unlike a detailed collection survey) provides an overview of all of a museum’s collections as well as its environmental conditions and policies and procedures relating to collections care. The program supports a two-day site visit by a conservation professional to perform the assessment. For museums located in historic structures, the grant supports a two-day site visit by a preservation architect. Assessment reports are then provided later. CAP also helps institutions with living animal collections, such as zoos and aquariums, that do not have an assessment of the animals’ physical conditions and habitats. Institutions with fully surveyed living animal collections (such as those accredited by the American Zoological Association) may use the grant to assess the conservation needs of their material collections only. Botanic gardens and arboretums may assess the conservation needs of both their living and material collections.
Conservation Project Support  *This program is now handled by the Museums for America program. 

The IMLS website provides the following "Note to applicants:  The FY 2013 Museums for America program now incorporates proposals previously solicited through the Conservation Project Support program. Read FAQ on FY13 museum program changes. (PDF, 224 KB)" 

Overview of Museums for America from IMLS:
The goal of the Museums for America (MFA) program is to strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve the public more effectively by supporting high-priority activities that advance its mission, plans, and strategic goals and objectives.

MFA grants support activities that strengthen museums as active resources for lifelong learning, as important institutions in the establishment of livable communities, and as good stewards of the nation’s collections. MFA grants can fund both new and ongoing museum activities and programs. Examples include planning, managing and conserving collections, improving public access, training, conducting programmatic research, school and public programming, producing exhibitions, and integrating new or upgraded technologies into your operations.  The three categories within the MFA program are Learning Experiences, Community Anchors, and Collections Stewardship.  Collections Stewardship
projects should support the care and management (documentation, preservation, and conservation) of collections (both tangible and digital) to expand and sustain access for current and future generations. 

Visit the Museums for America grant program page for more information.

To see currently available IMLS grants, check out:

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Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA)

The Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA) was the nation’s first non-profit regional art conservation center. The organization was founded in 1952 by the directors of six major Midwestern museums to provide professional, high quality, and cost effective art conservation services. The ICA was the model used by the National Endowment for the Arts, when it began dispersing start-up funding to create a network of similar centers across the United States in 1971.

Although not providing grants per se, the Intermuseum Conservation Association (ICA) has a subsidized survey program that helps cultural institutions identify their preservation needs.


Today, the ICA offers a range of services to its membership, as well as to non-member collecting organizations, governmental agencies, corporations, and the general public. These services include laboratory and on-site conservation, climate-controlled storage, custom crate building and display work, surveys and inspections, studio-quality photo documentation, educational programming, disaster assistance, grant collaboration, and publications for both a professional and general audience.

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llinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB)

ISHRAB (Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board) is made up of representatives from different archives, museums, universities and libraries from around the state and seeks to facilitate cooperation among historical records depositories and other information agencies within Illinois. The Illinois State Archives serves as the coordinator of the board.

Using funding from National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), ISHRAB offers grants of up to $5,000 to Illinois archives, libraries, museums and other historical records keepers to develop and/or carry out projects to identify, preserve, access, and use historical records in Illinois. Guidelines and application forms are located on the ISHRAB page. 


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