Museums for America Grant, Deadline Jan. 15

The goal of the Museums for America (MFA) program is to strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve the public more effectively by supporting high-priority activities that advance its mission, plans, and strategic goals and objectives. MFA grants support activities that strengthen museums as active resources for lifelong learning, as important institutions in the establishment of livable communities, and as good stewards of the nation’s collections. MFA grants can fund both new and ongoing museum activities and programs. Examples include planning, managing and conserving collections, improving public access, training, conducting programmatic research, school and public programming, producing exhibitions, and integrating new or upgraded technologies into your operations.

There are three categories within the MFA program:

Learning Experiences IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society. Projects should deliver high quality, inclusive, accessible and audience-focused programs, exhibitions, and services for lifelong learning in formal or informal settings.

Community Anchors IMLS promotes museums as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality. Projects should address common community challenges and demonstrate how your museum improves the quality of life and enriches community members’ knowledge and understanding of critical local and global issues, provides forums for community dialogue, and/or connects individuals to resources in the broader community service infrastructure through its programs and services. Projects may include capacity-building activities that position your museum to be more effective in fulfilling its role as a community anchor institution.

Collections Stewardship IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage. Projects should support the care and management of collections to expand and sustain access for current and future generations. Projects should reflect systematic, holistic, logical approaches to the documentation, preservation, and conservation of tangible and digital collections to sustain and improve public access. Note to applicants: The FY 2013 Museums for America program now incorporates proposals previously solicited through the Conservation Project Support program.

To be eligible for an award under the FY2013 Museums for America program, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:

•You must be either a unit of State or local government or be a private nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;

•You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and

•You must qualify as one of the following: 1. A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that is owns or operates.

What types of museums are eligible? Museums include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks. What does it mean to be using a professional staff? An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution. What does it mean to exhibit the objects to the general public? An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis. An institution which does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances. For more information, please see 45 CFR §1180.2(d). 2. A public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum may apply on behalf of the museum.

Original Closing Date for Applications:     Jan 15, 2013
Current Closing Date for Applications:     Jan 15, 2013
Archive Date:     Feb 14, 2013
Funding Instrument Type:     Grant
Expected Number of Awards:     185
Award Ceiling:     $150,000
Award Floor:     $5,000
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:     Yes

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Museums for America Grant, Deadline Jan. 15