Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Division of Preservation and Access

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

Implementation projects: $350,000
Foundations projects: $50,000 (NEH offers an additional $10,000 to support interinstitutional planning and pilot activities).

Open to


Expected output

Digitized Collection;
Web Resources

Period of performance

Implementation projects: three years Foundations projects: two years

Application available

Application due

Expected notification date

Project start date

The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities.  Thousands of libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art and material culture, and digital objects.  This program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology.  Awards are also made to create various reference resources that facilitate use of cultural materials, from works that provide basic information quickly to tools that synthesize and codify knowledge of a subject for in-depth investigation.

Proposed projects may address the holdings or activities of a single institution or may involve collaboration between institutions.  However, even in the case of single-institution projects, working with specialists in other offices or departments or colleagues in other institutions often helps ensure that proposed activities are achievable and will have maximum impact for the humanities.  Collaboration can be crucial in providing the appropriate mix of humanities content and methodological expertise and can help broaden the scope of, and audiences for, proposed collections or reference resources.

Review your application package

Begin by reading the Notice of Funding Opportunity below to ensure you understand the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this grant and are prepared to write the most effective application.

Application Materials and Program Resources

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Notice of Funding Opportunity 2021 (PDF)

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources application package

List of recently funded projects in this program

Sample Application Narratives

Foundations Project: Barnum Museum, Planning to Digitize the Collections

Foundations Project: Bryn Mawr College, History of Women's Education Open Access Portal Project

Foundations Project: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Building a Duchamp Research Portal

Implementation Project: University of Nebraska, Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project

Implementation Project: Barnum Museum, Digitizing the P.T. Barnum Collections

Implementation Project: Bryn Mawr College, Documenting the Student Experience at the Seven Sisters Colleges

Implementation Project: Cal. State University-Dominguez Hills, Digitizing Records of the Internment of Japanese Americans

Implementation Project: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, The American Soldier in World War II

Implementation Project: Museum of the City of New York, Digitizing the Museum's Ephemera Collections

Implementation Project: Rutgers University-Camden, Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Implementation Project: University of Massachusetts, Boston, Digitizing Plimoth Plantation’s 17th-Century Historical Archaeology Collections

Implementation Project: U. of Southern Mississippi, Providing Access to the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi

Register for a SAM number and an account on

To apply for this program, you will be need to be registered for a D-U-N-S® number, with the System for Awards Management (SAM), and with If you have registered with these systems previously, confirm that your registrations are current and up to date.

Complete your application package

Be sure to follow the instructions outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity and in the instructions. 

Submit your application package on

You will receive a confirmation from when you've successfully submitted your application. 

Verify you have received email messages from

After you submit your application, will send you up to five e-mail messages confirming receipt of your application. These messages represent different stages in the application acceptance process. You should verify that you have received all confirmation messages. Please note that email filters may send these messages to your spam or junk folder.

Program Statistics

In the last five competitions this program received an average of
per year
This grant has a
Funding Ratio
NEH made an average of
per year

Examples of Projects Funded by this Grant Program