Challenge Grants programs strengthen institutional and organizational capacity for work in the humanities. Institutions and organizations in the United States support the humanities by preserving and providing access to collections, conducting scholarship and research, and developing educational programs for various audiences. Challenge Grants projects may involve building and renovating structures such as museums and libraries, and updating the infrastructure that undergirds humanities work in its many forms.
Successful applicants will be awarded matching funds, intended to stimulate additional private, state, and local support for humanities infrastructure. Recipients must raise cash contributions from nonfederal third parties and have them certified by NEH before matching funds are released.
NEH offers two Challenge Grants funding opportunities. Their purpose is to strengthen the institutional base of the humanities with grants that support infrastructure development and capacity building, or that support work to maintain, modernize, and sustain digital infrastructure. Both approaches should help institutions secure and sustain their core activities for the long-term.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind museum doors? When the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle opened its new space in 2019, the curators planned to demystify this aspect of the museum by allowing visitors to gain access to collections that would usually be hidden. This approach, which they call the “Inside-Out” model, was incorporated into three new exhibits funded by an NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant: The Northwest Native Art Gallery, Our Material World (Archaeology), and the Culture is Living (Contemporary Culture).