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Institute of Museum and Library Services: National Leadership Grants for Museums

Deadline: November 15, 2019

The National Leadership Grants (NLG) for Museums will support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can strengthen services for the American public.

Indicators (characteristics) of successful projects in the NLG for Museums program are as follows:

  • Broad Impact: The project has the potential for far-reaching impact beyond the institution and for influencing practice across one or more disciplines or specific fields within the museum profession
  • In-depth Knowledge: The proposal reflects a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matter and an awareness and support of current strategic initiatives and agendas in the fieldInnovative Approach: The project employs novel approaches or techniques new to the project area to strengthen and improve museum services to benefit the audiences and communities being served
  • Collaborative Process: The project incorporates audience, stakeholders, and/or other partners to demonstrate broad need, field-wide buy-in and input, access to appropriate expertise, and sharing of resources
  • Shared Results: The project generates results such as models, new tools, research findings, services, practices, and/or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend and leverage the benefits of federal investment

Amount: There are three funding levels within the NLG for Museums program. Applicants must choose one of them.

  • Non-research grant, $50,000-$1,000,000 with 1:1 cost share required: Projects of one to three years that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. These may test scalability or expand and enhance existing products or initiatives.
  • Research grant, $50,000-$1,000,000 with no cost share required: Research projects of one to three years should investigate key questions important to museum practice and have the potential to advance the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. These proposals should build upon prior empirical, theoretical, or exploratory work in museums or other disciplines (as they relate to museums or museum services). Proposals should include clearly articulated research questions and feature appropriate methods, including relevant theoretical or conceptual approaches, data collection, and analysis. Findings and their implications for museum service and practice should be shared broadly throughout the grant period, rather than exclusively at the conclusion of the project. Dissemination activities should not be limited to publishing journal articles and presenting at academic conferences. Proposals focused on evaluation are not appropriate for the Research funding level, and should be submitted to the Non-research grant funding level above.
  • Rapid prototyping grant, $5,000-$50,000 with no cost share required: Projects of up to one year that perform exploratory activities that rapidly prototype, pilot, and evaluate specific innovations in the ways museums operate and the services they provide. Project results, both successful and unsuccessful, should offer valuable information to the museum field and the potential for improvement in the ways museums serve their communities.

Eligibility: Applicant organizations must meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. Be either a unit of State, local, or tribal government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code
  2. Be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau
  3. Qualify as one of the following: (a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational, cultural heritage, or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates; (b) An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the wellbeing of museums and the museum profession; (c) An institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities; or (d) A public or private nonprofit agency that is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a) above may apply on behalf of the museum

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=319581

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