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Deadline: August 13, 2014

National Endowment for the Humanities: Museums, Libraries & Cultural Organizations Planning Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH’s) Division of Public Programs supports activities that engage millions of Americans in understanding significant humanities works and ideas. At the center of every NEH-funded public humanities project is a core set of humanities ideas developed by scholars, matched to imaginative formats that bring those ideas to life for people of all ages and all walks of life.  Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Organizations grants provide support for museums, libraries, historic places, and other organizations that produce public programs in the humanities.

Projects must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, or art history.  NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects it supports must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience. NEH welcomes humanities projects tailored to particular groups, such as families, youth (including K-12 students), teachers, seniors, at-risk communities, and veterans, but they should also strive to cultivate a more inclusive audience.

Grants support the following formats:

  • exhibitions at museums, libraries, and other venues;
  • interpretations of historic places, sites, or regions; and
  • book/film discussion programs; living history presentations; and other face-to-face programs at libraries, community centers, and other public venues.

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 support the early stages of project development, including consultation with scholars, refinement of humanities themes, preliminary design, testing, and audience evaluation.

Amount: Awards for planning typically range from $40,000 to $75,000, depending on the complexity of the project, and are usually made for a period of twelve months. Basic planning grants of up to $40,000 are available for projects that include collaboration with scholars to refine humanities content, undertake archival research, and conduct preliminary object research. Awards up to $75,000 are available for the planning of exceptionally ambitious exhibitions, and for more complex projects with the potential to reach extremely wide audiences through any of the following:

  • collaboration with multiple institutional partners;
  • a wide-ranging combination of diverse formats (for example, exhibitions, book/film
  • discussion programs, digital formats, lecture series, symposia, neighborhood tours,
  • curriculum guides, publications, and broadcast media); or
  • programming at a large number of venues.

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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