Collection Management Grant Opportunities for Nonprofits

Elysian Koglmeier | January 30, 2020 (Updated October 27, 2022)

Secure more funding for your collection this year.

Collection management is critical to preserving cultural heritage for today’s audience and tomorrow’s future. But, managing a collection is a challenge. Institutions around the world juggle many complexities like space, personnel, and budgets—and funding is a big need. 

Here at Artwork Archive, we want to help you protect, preserve and promote cultural heritage. We want to support you in extending the life of your collection and sharing it with the public. We know you have a lot on your plate and are busy planning for the year ahead, so we did the digging for you and found some of the best collection management grants out there. 

Achieve your collection goals and support your institutions with a boost in funding from this list of collection management-focused grants. 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and that depending on when you read this article, the deadline may have passed for the year. The majority of these grants are recurring though. It's never too late to plan for 2021! And if you know of a grant opportunity that is not listed, please share with us at Artwork Archive. 


(listed alphabetically by granting agency) 


Digitizing Hidden Collections and Archives

This is a national competition for digitizing collections of rare and unique content in cultural memory institutions. This new endeavor builds on the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant program. The competition is designed to: encourage approaches to digitization that make possible new kinds of scholarship; support the digitization of entire collections; promote strategic partnerships; promote best practices for ensuring long-term availability and discoverability of digital content; ensure that digitized content is made available to the public as easily and completely as possible.

DEADLINE: March 31, 2020



Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP)

The Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program is a joint effort of IMLS and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works to help small and mid-sized museums better care for their collections through a grant and recommendations.

DEADLINE: February 1, 2020

FINE PRINT: A CAP assessment is a study of an institution’s collections, buildings, and building systems, as well as its collections care policies and procedures. The assessment involves a site visit by collections and building assessors, who spend two days touring the museum and interviewing staff and governing officials. The assessors then prepare a comprehensive report that outlines recommendations for improving collections care.


Inspire! Grants for Small Museums 

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums is a special initiative of the Museums for America program that inspires small museums to implement projects that address priorities identified in their strategic plans. Inspire! has three project categories: Lifelong Learning, Community Anchors and Catalysts, and Collections Stewardship and Public Access. The grant period may last up to two years. 

IMLS hosts webinars in advance of the application deadline. You can reference FY2020’s webinar here.

DEADLINE: November 16, 2020

AMOUNT: $5,000-$50,000


Museum Assessment Program

The Museum Assessment Program is designed to help museums assess their strengths and weaknesses and plan for the future.

DEADLINE: December 2020 (exact date TBD)


Museum Grants for African American History and Culture

The Museum Grant for African American History and Culture is awarded to projects in African American History and Culture museums looking to improve operations, collections management, and professional management of the institution. The grant period may last up to three years. 

DEADLINE: November 16, 2020

AMOUNT: $5,000 - $500,000

FINE PRINT: There is a cost-share requirement. You must provide funds from non-federal sources in an amount that is equal to or greater than the amount of the request. No cost-sharing is required for applications requesting amounts from $5,000-$50,000.


National Leadership Grants for Museums

This cost-sharing grant is awarded to projects that resolve major issues in the museum field while advancing the profession and serving the public. The categories for this grant focus on five separate areas: • Collections Care and Public Access • Data, Analysis, and Assessment • Digital Platforms and Applications • Diversity and Inclusion • Professional Development. This grant is offered annually. The grant period is up to three years.  

DEADLINE: November 16, 2020

AMOUNT: $5,000–$1,000,000

FINE PRINT: There is a cost share requirement. 


Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services Program

This grant is awarded to institutions that support Native American tribes that serve and represent Native Hawaiians. The funding backs projects that sustain heritage, culture, and learning through exhibitions, public programming, collections care, educational programming, and professional development. The grant period is up to two years. There is no cost share requirement. 

DEADLINE: November 16, 2020

AMOUNT: $5,000–$1,000,000


Save America’s Treasures

Save America’s Treasures supports the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections. This grant program in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

DEADLINE: To be announced

FINE PRINT: Designed to support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections, the grant program is competitive and requires a dollar-for-dollar match. Individual properties or collections that received an SAT grant in the past are not eligible for additional funding. A list of past funded projects can be found at



Responsive Grants — American Art Collections 

The Responsive Grant funds projects by arts and culture organizations that protect collections that are important to the overall field of museums, libraries, and culture. The grant covers an array of projects, including conservation, collection digitization, and large installations. The grants are given throughout the year and reviewed at foundation board meetings. A hard copy letter of inquiry must be sent to the organization to be considered, they do not accept electronic submissions.


FINE PRINT: Projects ineligible for funding by the American Art Program include those that deal exclusively with film, performance art or the work of emerging artists. The Program does not fund the creation of works of art, the purchase of works of art, the production of documentary films about American art, or projects in the performing arts.



Grants for Art Projects: Museums

This grant funds projects that support community engagement, and exhibitions and collections. Many different kinds of proposals are eligible, including projects that highlight exhibitions, collections care, and conservation. 

DEADLINE: This grant is offered twice a year. The first deadline is February 13, 2020, and the second deadline is July 9, 2020. 



Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program gives funding to projects that are looking to extend the life of collections, and make their content widely available, including through digital technologies. The expected output is a digitized collection, web resources, catalogs, databases, or encyclopedias. The awards are offered for both planning and implementation. 


DEADLINE: July 15, 2020

AMOUNT: Implementation projects: $350,000. Foundation projects: $50,000 (NEH offers an additional $10,000 to support inter-institutional planning and pilot activities)

FINE PRINT: The period of performance for Implementation projects is three years and the Foundations project is two years.


Research and Development

The Research and Development program supports projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources.  These challenges include the need to find better ways to preserve materials of critical importance to the nation’s cultural heritage—from fragile artifacts and manuscripts to analog recordings and digital assets subject to technological obsolescence—and to develop advanced modes of organizing, searching, discovering, and using such materials.

This program supports projects at all stages of development, from early planning and stand-alone studies, to advanced implementation. Projects may produce any combination of laboratory datasets, guidelines for standards, open access software tools, workflow and equipment specifications, widely used metadata schema, or other products.

DEADLINE: May 15, 2020

AMOUNT: Up to $350,000

FINE PRINT: Applicants must demonstrate how advances in preservation and access through a Research and Development project would benefit the cultural heritage community by supporting humanities research, teaching, or public programming.


Preservation and Access Education and Training

The Preservation and Access Education and Training program supports the development of knowledge and skills among professionals responsible for preserving and establishing access to humanities collections. 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 collections, electronic records, and digital objects. The challenge of preserving and making accessible such large and diverse holdings is enormous, and the need for knowledgeable staff is significant and ongoing.  

Preservation and Access Education and Training grants are awarded to organizations that offer national, regional, or statewide education and training programs across the pedagogical landscape, and at all stages of development. Grants aim to help the staff of cultural institutions, large and small, obtain the knowledge and skills needed to serve as effective stewards of humanities collections. Grants support projects that prepare the next generation of preservation professionals, as well as projects that introduce heritage practitioners to new information and advances in preservation and access practices.  

Awards should support project-specific costs such as, but not limited to -- training offered by preservation field services, training in current preservation or access topics for staff responsible for the care of humanities collections; workshops, webinars, technical training, instructional series, postgraduate fellowships, apprenticeships, mentorships, and residencies; student financial support beyond tuition; curriculum development; speaker series and travel; as well as fellowships or internships toward a master’s degree in programs such as art conservation, library science, museum studies, and archival administration. All other considerations being equal, NEH gives preference to those projects that dedicate most, if not all, requested outright funding to support project-specific costs (as opposed to institutional or operational support more broadly). 

DEADLINE: June 11, 2020

AMOUNT: Up to $350,000

FINE PRINT: Programs that grant graduate degrees in art conservation may apply for up to $250,000 in outright funds and up to $100,000 in federal matching funds for a period of performance of not less than three years and up to five years. All other applicants may apply for up to $350,000 in outright funds, or a combination of outright and matching funds, not to exceed $350,000 for a period of performance of up to three years.  


Cultural and Community Resilience Funding 

The Cultural and Community Resilience (CCR) program contributes to the continuity of cultural heritage and its availability for future generations by supporting community-based efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic by empowering people to define, collect, and use cultural and historical resources. In addition, the CCR program recognizes the importance of documenting contemporary experiences in these areas and of deepening our understanding of their social, economic, and emotional impact on individuals and communities. The program prioritizes projects from disadvantaged communities in the United States or its jurisdictions.

NEH welcomes applications at all stages of project development from planning through implementation, especially those that employ inclusive methodologies, such as participatory archiving, oral history, rapid response collecting, shared stewardship arrangements, and community-centered access. NEH also encourages you to leverage open access online resources and use Creative Commons licenses, when possible and as appropriate.

The CCR program supports activities such as, but not limited to:

  • identifying and capturing cultural and historical resources, including through digital means, in communities potentially endangered by climate events, such as wildfires, drought, hurricanes, or rising sea levels;
  • safeguarding cultural resources to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • collecting oral histories from individuals impacted by extreme weather events or the COVID-19 pandemic, including survivors and first responders;
  • documenting traditional knowledge, memories of elders, practices, or technologies;
  • engaging in collaborative planning efforts to prepare communities for rapid response collecting; and
  • applying insights from cultural heritage identification and documentation projects to inform local and regional community resilience strategies.

ADDITIONAL INQUIRIES: You may reach out with inquiries or request to speak with a program officer at any point prior to the deadline at [email protected]

DEADLINE: January 12, 2023

OPTIONAL DRAFT DUE: December1, 2022

AMOUNT: Up to $150,000

FUNDING FOR: Digital Surrogate Collections; Oral History Collections; Physical Archival Collections; Plans for Community Documentation

SECOND APPLICATION DEADLINEA second deadline for this application will be held on May 16, 2023. The Deadline for submitting an optional draft for this deadline is April 11, 2023.



African American Civil Rights Grant Program (AACR)

The National Park Service announces availability of grant funding through African American Civil Rights Grant Program (AACR). The program will document, interpret, and preserve sites and stories telling the full story of the long struggle for African American civil rights from the transatlantic slave trade onwards across two separate grant funding opportunities. The NPS 2008 report, Civil Rights in America, A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, will serve as the reference document in determining the appropriateness of proposed projects and properties.

AACR Grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), administered by the NPS, and will fund a broad range of preservation projects including survey and inventory, National Register nominations, oral histories and more. Grants are awarded through a competitive process and do not require non-Federal funding match. Congress has appropriated $21.7 million in FY2022 funding for History and Preservation projects.

Grants are available to fund two type of projects: "history" and "preservation." History grants will support interpretive and research-based projects, while preservation grants will fund planning and "bricks and mortar" preservation/conservation work on historic buildings and structures.

DEADLINE: November 8, 2022


You can also search for grants distributed at the state level, HERE.

And discover government grants for small businesses here



Listed alphabetically by granting agency


Collections Management 

The Collections Management Fund provides funding for projects to improve knowledge, skills, and practices related to key museum functions. To view guidelines, visit the link above. To apply, contact your Regional Office of the Department of Canadian Heritage for an application package. 

DEADLINE: To be announced, but applications can be expected in early November 2020.



Museums, Indigenous Cultural Centres and Visual Arts Organizations Projects

This fund supports the development, enrichment, and creation of new or unique public programming and documentation, including exhibitions, dissemination projects, artists’ residencies, exploration of new forms, audience development or collections management projects.

WHO: To apply, you must be based in British Columbia and offer programming in B.C.

DEADLINE: To be announced, but expecting in mid-Fall 2020 



Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund awards grants to all kinds of museums and institutions in the UK, giving over £2 billion to more than 3,500 museum projects since 1994. Grants can be used to update the museum’s physical plant, protect collections, support acquisitions, and more.



Museum Collection Management Grants

The Rothschild Foundation supports the preservation of Jewish Culture around the world. Through multiple annual museum grants, Rothschild funds both traveling and permanent exhibitions, collections management, professional development, and multi-museum exhibition planning.

WHO: The Rothschild Foundation welcomes applications from any organization or institution active in Europe (including Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus), where activities qualify as charitable under UK charity law. 

DEADLINE: March 13, 2020



Annual grants

The Wolfson Foundation provides annual grants for educational institutions and organizations with collections and can be used to renovate and improve museums and collections across the UK. 

Here’s a secret: you don’t need an IMLS grant to afford online collection management software. Put your awarded funds towards collection care, staffing and exhibiting by saving money with a more affordable collection management system, like Artwork Archive

Artwork Archive offers a very affordable online art collection platform. With plans that start at less than $30 a month, you can manage collections of any size or type, encourage public engagement with your objects, seamlessly publish information to your website, and streamline conservation work.

Contact us to learn more or to schedule a demo. 

Get started with a free trial of Artwork Archive, and see how easy it is to stay on top of your collection's needs.

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