National Endowment for the Humanities: Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations – Planning Grants
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Public Programs supports projects for general audiences that encourage active engagement with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. Many different formats are supported, including permanent and traveling exhibitions, book or film discussion programs, historic site or district interpretations, living history presentations, and other face-to-face programs in public venues. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical (rather than celebratory). Projects must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience.
Grants provide support for museums, libraries, historic places, and other organizations that produce public programs in the humanities. NEH encourages projects that explore humanities ideas through multiple formats. Proposed projects might include complementary components that deepen an audience’s understanding of a subject: for example, a museum exhibition might be accompanied by a website, mobile app, or discussion programs.
Planning grants are used to refine the content, format, and interpretive approach of a humanities project; develop the project’s preliminary design; test project components; and conduct audience evaluation. Planning grants may be used for meetings with scholars and other content advisers, program partners, and audience representatives; primary research into the topic; travel to archives, collections, sites, or other resources; drafting of text for program or discussion guides, exhibition labels, brochures, digital assets, publications, or other interpretive materials; preliminary design for any of the interpretive formats to be used; planning for public programs and publicity materials; preliminary audience evaluation; planning for training for docents, discussion coordinators, or other relevant interpretive leaders for the project; and development of curriculum guides and other materials for teachers and students.
Amount: Awards for planning typically range from $40,000 to $75,000, depending on the complexity of the project.
Eligibility: Any U.S. nonprofit organization with IRS tax-exempt status is eligible, as are state and local governmental agencies and federally recognized Indian tribal governments. Eligible institutions include but are not limited to public, school, academic, and research libraries; museums; disciplinary and professional associations; cultural institutions; state humanities councils; and institutions of higher learning.
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