Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

Division of Preservation and Access

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

$10,000 ($15,000 for projects related to “A More Perfect Union”)

Open to


Expected output

Preservation Assessment Reports;
Preservation and Collections Care Workshops;
Preservation Supplies/Equipment

Period of performance

Up to eighteen months

Application available

Application due

Expected notification date

Project start date

Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections.  These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials.

Applicants must draw on the knowledge of consultants whose preservation skills and experience are related to the types of collections and the nature of the activities on which their projects focus.  Within the conservation field, for example, conservators usually specialize in the care of specific types of collections, such as objects, paper, or paintings.  Applicants should therefore choose a conservator whose specialty is appropriate for the nature of their collections.  Similarly, when assessing the preservation needs of library, museum, or archival holdings, applicants should seek a consultant specifically knowledgeable about the preservation of collections in these types of institutions.

The program encourages applications from small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant; community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities; and Native American tribes and Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian organizations with significant humanities collections.

Review your application package

To apply for this grant, 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. If you fail to allow ample time to complete registration with SAM or, you will not be eligible for a deadline extension or waiver of the online electronic submission requirement.

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.

Download Application Materials

Preservation Assistance Grants Notice of Funding Opportunity, January 2020 (PDF) application package

Budget Resources

Preservation Assistance Grants Sample Budget, 2019 (PDF)

Preservation Assistance Grants Budget Form, 2019 (XLS)

Program Resources

Preservation Assistance Grants Frequently Asked Questions, 2020 (PDF)

Preservation Assistance Grants, list of recently funded projects

DUNS Number Requirement

Sample Application Narratives

Antiochian Village, assessment of museum and library collections

Chester County Historical Society, digital preservation plan

Chicago Film Archives, purchase of film preservation furniture and supplies

City of Ontario, library local history room preservation assessment

Mills College Art Museum, workshop on sustaining digital collections

National Japanese American Historical Society, general preservation assessment for collections

Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, improving environmental conditions for historical collections

Sunflower County Library, Mississippi Delta collaborative emergency preparedness project

Museum of Printing History, improving the storage environment of collections

    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