Discover grant opportunities for art conservation.
Conservation is critical to preserving the life of our cultural objects and ensuring that collections can be enjoyed by generations to come. But, small museums and other nonprofits do not always have adequate funding to care for the objects in their collections. To fulfill our roles as stewards of cultural heritage, it's critical to find funding for restoring and conserving artworks.
Here at Artwork Archive, we want to protect your cultural objects and support your institution, so we culled together a list of some of the best conservation grant and funding opportunities. The grants below will be of help whether you're developing a long-range preservation plan, seeking new conservation methodologies and tools, or looking to care for a particular object or collection.
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, however. If you know of a grant opportunity that is not listed, please share it with us at Artwork Archive.
GRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
(listed alphabetically by granting agency)
ANDREW F. MELLON FOUNDATION
The Mellon Foundation aims to help shape and sustain art history and conservation as dynamic and rigorous disciplines. They support art museums, conservation centers, research institutes, graduate programs, and related institutions, with an emphasis on training, collaboration, and knowledge networks.
One of the Mellon Foundation’s primary areas is art conservation and conservation science. The Foundation makes a grant to support the following in this area:
- Programs that increase the diversity of the curatorial and conservation professions
- Development of networks for curatorship and conservation of new media art
- Object-based and curatorial curricula in art history graduate programs
- Involvement of artists in the work of art museums and graduate programs in art history and conservation
- Collaborations between museums and universities in conservation science
- Threatened or underdeveloped areas of conservation expertise
- Major challenges in the development of tools and methods for conservation science
Current special initiatives in art history, conservation, and museums include:
- Conservation of Chinese Painting
AMOUNT: Up to $150,000
FINE PRINT: Learn more about eligibility and granting policies here.
Conserving Canvas is an international grant initiative focused on the conservation of paintings on canvas. Conserving Canvas aims to ensure that conservators remain fully prepared to care for these important works of art through a combination of training activities and information dissemination, as well as an upcoming symposium.
Support is available for museum projects—including conservation treatment residencies that focus on knowledge and skill development—and targeted professional development opportunities such as training workshops and seminars for curators and conservators.
For more information or to submit inquiries for consideration, organizations may contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that support is not available for individuals.
INSTITUTE OF MUSEUM AND LIBRARY SERVICES
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.
A CAP assessment may assist small and mid-sized museums by:
- Providing recommendations and priorities for collections care specific to your collections
- Facilitating the development of a long-range preservation plan
- Serving as a fundraising tool for future collections projects
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 collection's 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 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
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
FINE PRINT: There is a cost-share requirement.
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
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 http://go.nps.gov/satmap.
This grant program supports the professional practice of art conservation, including conservation research, scholarly publications, international conferences, and symposia.
DEADLINE: April 1, 2020 and October 1, 2020
AMOUNT: Dependent on project
FINE PRINT: The first step in the application process is the submission of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) describing your proposed project, via the Foundation’s online grantmaking portal.
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.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve public discovery and use of major historical records collections. The Commission is especially interested in collections of America’s early legal records, such as the records of colonial, territorial, county, and early statehood and tribal proceedings that document the evolution of the nation’s legal history.
All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images. Projects may:
- Digitize historical records collections, or related collections, held by a single institution and make them freely available online
- Provide access to born-digital records
- Create new freely-available virtual collections drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions
- Create new tools and methods for users to access records
DEADLINE: January 9, 2020
AMOUNT: Up to $350,000
FINE PRINT: You can find a comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding here.
NATIONAL CENTER FOR PRESERVATION TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING
The Preservation Technology and Training (PTT) Grants program provides funding for innovative research that develops new technologies or adapts existing technologies to preserve cultural resources. Grant recipients undertake innovative research and produce technical reports which respond to national needs in the field of historic preservation.
The competitive grants program will provide funding to federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and non-profit organizations. PTT Grants will support the following activities:
- Innovative research that develops new technologies or adapts existing technologies to preserve cultural resources (typically $20,000)
- Specialized workshops or symposia that identify and address national preservation needs (typically $15,000 to $20,000)
- How-to videos, mobile applications, podcasts, best practices publications, or webinars that disseminate practical preservation methods or provide better tools for preservation practice (typically $5,000 to $15,000)
DEADLINE: February 24, 2020
AMOUNT: Up to $20,000
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA)
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.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES (NEH)
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.
DEADLINE: January 15, 2020 (Keep an eye out for next year’s grant!)
FINE PRINT: 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.
The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections (SCHC) program helps cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations by supporting sustainable conservation measures that mitigate deterioration, prolong the useful life of collections, and support institutional resilience: the ability to anticipate and respond to disasters resulting from natural or human activity.
The expected output of the project is either preservation supplies/equipment or reports on preventive conservation.
APPLICATION AVAILABLE: November 13, 2020
DEADLINE: January 14, 2021
AMOUNT: Planning: $50,000. Implementation: $350,000
NATIONAL PARK SERVICES (NPS)
The Tribal Heritage Grant with the National Parks Service seeks to preserve collections and objects cared for by Tribal organizations. The funding is particularly focused on promoting unique cultural heritage with Indian Tribes, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiian organizations.
From the beginning, the program has been shaped by Indian tribes. It focuses on what they are most concerned with protecting - Native language, oral history, plant and animal species important in tradition, sacred and historic places, and the establishment of tribal historic preservation offices.
DEADLINE: March 11, 2020
AMOUNT: $65,000 is the award ceiling
FINE PRINT: For examples of past projects, see this list.
You can also search for grants distributed at the state level here.
Tru Vue partners with the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) and The Institute for Conservation (Icon) to offer scholarships to professionals and students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend and contribute toward their professional development goals. The goals for the program include encouraging international exchange and dissemination of training and conference information.
AMOUNT: Up to $1,500
WYETH FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN ART
The Wyeth Foundation for American Art also reviews funding proposals from non-profit institutions to support research, conservation, and exhibition programming in American art. Grants from the Foundation typically support innovative exhibitions that explore new research about American art; innovative and important museum catalogs and books; and conservation and restoration of American masterpieces. Typically, the grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 per project and may extend over two or three years.
DEADLINE: June 15th and December 15th
(Listed alphabetically by granting agency)
BANK OF AMERICA
The Bank of America Art Conservation Project is a unique program that provides grants to nonprofit museums throughout the world in support of projects that conserve historically or culturally significant works of art in danger of degeneration, including works that have been designated as national treasures.
Check out 2019 recipients here.
The Foundation will consider requests from museums that are public charities and have a permanent collection for the purchase, conservation, and exhibition of Asian art and relating to education in Asian art. In addition, the Foundation will consider requests from such institutions to underwrite the costs of exhibitions of Western art in the Peoples Republic of China or the Republic of China (Taiwan).
DEADLINES: January 31, 2020, and July 15, 2020
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
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.
EUROPEAN HERITAGE AWARDS
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.
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
The program is offered so that cultural properties outside Japan can be handed down to future generations. Eligible projects include projects for the protection, preservation & restoration of cultural properties (i.e., fine arts or historical monuments) outside Japan, which are tangible, old and artistically or academically valuable, and ought to be handed down to future generations.
In order to be eligible, the applicant shall be the owner(s) or administrator(s) of the cultural properties or researcher(s), who will actually conduct preliminary surveys. (Not eligible: for-profit corporations, individuals who own cultural property for profit or whose cultural properties are for private use only.)
DEADLINE: Watch for the deadline in September
Keep track of condition reports and track the maintenance of your collection
Once your conservation plan is in place, make sure you have the tools to properly track and execute it. Affordable online collection management software systems like Artwork Archive allow you to store condition reports and treatment plans, record the care of individual works of art, and track the maintenance of your collection as a whole.
Interested in seeing how an online art collection management system can help you preserve your collection? Contact us to learn more or to schedule a demo.