Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Division of Preservation and Access

Grant Snapshot

Maximum award amount

Planning: $50,000
Implementation Level I: $100,000
Implementation Level II: $350,000

Funding Opportunity for


Expected output

Improved conditions for collection storage and display;
Improved systems and resilience for collections;
Reduced energy usage and costs;
In-depth preservation studies and plans

Period of performance

Up to two years for Planning and Implementation Level I; up to three years for Implementation Level II

Application available (anticipated)

Next deadline (anticipated)

Expected notification date

Project start date

Cultural institutions, including libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations, face a complex challenge: to preserve humanities collections for future generations through environmentally sustainable preventive care strategies to reduce energy consumption and costs as well as to strengthen institutional resiliency in the face of a changing climate.  Cultural institutions can accomplish this work most effectively through managing collections’ environment, including aspects such as temperature, relative humidity, pollutants, and light; providing protective storage enclosures and systems for collections; and safeguarding collections from theft, fire, floods, and other disasters. By using environmentally sustainable methods, institutions reduce reliance on fossil fuels and to ensure collections are better protected from current and future disasters. 

There are three levels of funding. Planning (up to $50,000) provides funding for institutions of any size to develop and assess environmentally sustainable preventive care strategies in collection spaces. Implementation Level I (up to $100,000) provides funding for small to mid-sized institutions to implement environmentally sustainable preventive care projects that address specific, discrete preservation challenges that have been identified through an assessment. Implementation Level II (up to $350,000) provides funding for institutions of any size to implement environmentally sustainable preventive care projects that address large or multifaceted preservation challenges that have been identified through assessments and planning conducted by a multidisciplinary collaborative professional team appropriate to the goals of the project.

For more information on the funding levels and supported activities, please see the link to the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

For more information about the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program and the 2024 Notice of Funding Opportunity, you may refer to the pre-recorded webinar below. Captions are provided. You may also contact the division’s staff at @email.

Review your application package

Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity to ensure you understand the expectations and restrictions for projects delivered under this program and are prepared to write the most effective application.

Application Materials

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Notice of Funding Opportunity 2024 (PDF)

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections application package

Program Resources

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections FAQs 2024 (PDF)

List of Recently Funded Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections projects

Sample Application Narratives

Planning Projects:

Autry Museum of the American West, Planning a Sustainable Preservation Environment

Buffalo Bill Memorial Association, Preserving Collections at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

The Fort Ticonderoga Association, The Future is Calling: Developing a Master Preservation and Storage Needs Plan for Ticonderoga’s Collections

University of Arizona, Planning for the Sustainable Preservation of At-Risk Film in the Center for Creative Photography Archives

Implementation Projects:

Indianapolis Museum of Art, Inc., Creating a Suitable and Energy-Efficient Lighting Environment for the Preventive Conservation of the Permanent Collection

Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Sustainable HVAC Stabilization Phase 1

Shelburne Museum, Inc., Shelburne Museum Stagecoach Inn Renovation Project

The University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc., Improving energy efficiency in collection storage in Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas


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    Program Statistics

    In the last five competitions this program received an average of
    53 Applications
    per year
    This program has a
    28% Funding Ratio
    NEH made an average of
    15 Awards
    per year

    Examples of Projects Funded by this Grant Program