Tag Archives: National Endowment for the Humaniti

New NEH Interpretive Planning Grant for Small Organizations

Scholars reviewing the archives at the Haas-Lilienthal House.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal granting agency, recently announced a special grant program to support interpretive planning at small organizations for up to $25,000, no match required.

What does “small” mean? You need to meet at least two of the following:

  • Annual operating expenses of less than $1,000,000
  • Located in a community with less than 300,000 residents
  • A staff of less than 50 people
  • Rely primarily on volunteers or part-time staff.
  • A mission to interpret under-told stories or serving a non-traditional audience

Hmm…that describes most history organizations in the US, so if you’re reading this post, you’re probably eligible.

Now, what will it support? Nearly anything that improves or enhances the interpretation of your collection, site, or community, such as:

  • help you think creatively about the hidden strengths of your collections or historic site
  • generate new ideas for engaging with the community
  • train staff and volunteers on interpretive methods and techniques
  • develop a framework for developing public programs
  • creating interpretive plans for exhibitions, tours, or school programs
  • visiting other historic sites or museums to sharpen skills and knowledge
  • evaluating existing tours or exhibitions
  • testing new programs for their ability to engage new audiences
  • conducting historical research to support new interpretive themes

Projects must include at least one scholar from a humanities discipline (e.g., history) or one consultant specializing in interpretation to the public (Engaging Places can help you with this), as well as at least one expert on your local community. 

Applications are due June 28, 2023 for one to two year projects beginning between March 1 and May 1, 2024. You will need all of that time to prepare an application and NEH will read draft applications submitted by May 24. Remember to register in advance with the System for Award Management (SAM) and Grants.gov—those are steps you cannot do at the last minute.

For more details, scan the overview or jump right to the 35-page grant application instructions (officially called a Notice of Funding Opportunity).

NEH Announces $39M in Grants but Sites Fare Poorly IMHO

At the end of July, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $39 million in grants for 244 projects across 15 program areas (e.g., America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations, Landmarks of American History and Culture, and Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Grants).  NEH is the major federal source of funds for historic sites and house museums, so these grant announcements provide a sense of what’s happening in the field to see what’s innovative or excellent (or what attracts funding).  Some examples of grant recipients who are focused on historic sites include:

Chicago Architecture Foundation
NEH Program: Landmarks of American History, $172,393
Project Director: Jean Linsner
Project Title: The American Skyscraper: Transforming Chicago and the Nation
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers on the
development of the skyscraper in Chicago and the relationship of skyscrapers to

U.S.S. Constitution Museum 
NEH Program: Landmarks of American History, $179,548
Project Director: Sarah Watkins
Project Title: The U.S.S. Constitution and the War of 1812
Project Description: Two one-week workshops for eighty school teachers on the naval War of 1812 and its most important and complex artifact, the United States frigate Constitution, anchored in Boston.

Wilderstein Preservation
NEH Program: Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections, $50,000
Project Director: Duane Watson
Project Title: Planning for a Sustainable Preservation Environment in the Wilderstein Mansion
Project Description: A planning project to identify ways to create and maintain Continue reading