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Grants to USA Nonprofits and Agencies
to Enhance Museum Services

National Leadership Grants (NLG) for Museums

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Deadline Date:

11/15/21 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations and agencies for initiatives to enhance museum services. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Funding is intended for projects in the areas of research, non-research, and rapid prototyping.

Reflecting IMLS’s agency-level goals, National Leadership Grants for Museums has three program goals and three objectives associated with each goal. Each applicant should align their proposed project with one of these three goals and one or more of the associated objectives. Goal and objective choices should be identified clearly in the Narrative.

  • Goal 1: Advance the museum field’s ability to empower people of all ages and backgrounds through experiential and cross-disciplinary learning and discovery.
  • Goal 2: Advance the museum field’s ability to maximize the use of museum resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations.
  • Goal 3: Advance the museums field’s ability to identify new solutions that address high priority and widespread collections care or conservation issues.

Project Types:

  • Non-research projects address critical needs of the museum field and have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. These may test scalability or expand and enhance existing products or initiatives.
  • Research projects investigate key questions important to museum practice and result in findings that have the potential to advance the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public. Proposals should include clearly articulated research questions and feature appropriate methods, including relevant theoretical or conceptual approaches, data collection, and analysis. Applications submitted for Research projects will be considered incomplete if they do not include Data Management Plans that explain how the applicant will manage, share, preserve, document, and enable reuse of the information and research products created during the project.
  • Rapid Prototyping projects performing exploratory activities should rapidly prototype, pilot, and evaluate specific innovations in the ways museums operate and the services they provide. Project results, both successful and unsuccessful, should offer valuable information to the museum field and the potential for improvement in the ways museums serve their communities.

Allowable costs can be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 162641

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Anticipated number of awards: 12

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $750,000
- Award Floor: $5,000

The National Leadership Grants for Museums Program has three project types, and applicants must designate one of them for each application they submit.
- Non-research grant, $50,000 - $750,000
- Research grant, $50,000 - $750,000
- Rapid prototyping grant, $5,000 - $50,000

Term of Contract:

Anticipated start dates for new awards Projects must begin on September 1, 2022.

Anticipated period of performance September 1, 2022 - August 31, 2025. Project activities may be carried out for one to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an award under this National Leadership Grants for Museums Notice of Funding Opportunity, your organization must meet all three of the following criteria

1.Must be either a unit of State, local, or tribal government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;

2. 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

3. Must qualify as one of the following:
(a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational, cultural heritage, 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 it owns or operates.
(b) An organization or association that engages in activities designed to advance the wellbeing of museums and the museum profession;
(c) An institution of higher education, including public and nonprofit universities; or
(d) A public or private nonprofit agency that is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a), applying on behalf of the museum.

Native American tribal organizations may apply if they otherwise meet the above eligibility requirements.

For additional eligibility information, see

Unallowable costs can be found at

Pre-Application Information:

- Submit through by 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on November 15, 2021.
- Anticipated Date of Notification of Award Decisions August 2022 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion)
- Beginning Date of Period of Performance Projects must begin on September 1, 2022.

All organizations must submit their applications for funding using Workspace. Do not submit through email or postal mail to IMLS.

For the NLG for Museums program, the requirements to provide cost-share from non-federal sources differ according to funding level.
- Non-research grant: 1:1 cost share required
- Research grant: No cost-share required.
- Rapid prototyping grant: No cost-share required.

Before submitting an application, an applicant organization must have a current and active Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S®) Number; a current and active System for Award Management (SAM) registration; and an active registration with an approved Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Check materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

Organizations must maintain current information in SAM, including information on their immediate and highest-level owner and subsidiaries, as well as on all of predecessors that have been awarded a federal contract or federal financial assistance within the last three years, if applicable. IMLS may reject an application if the SAM registration is not active and current at the time of submission. IMLS may determine that an applicant without an active and current SAM registration at the time an award is made is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making an award to another applicant.

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application package. The multistep registration process generally cannot be completed in a single day. If your organization is not already registered, allow several weeks before the application deadline to complete this one-time process. Do not wait until the day of the application deadline to register.

Webinars can be viewed on the URL for Full Text, below.

View this opportunity on

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Program Contacts:
Helen Wechsler
Supervisory Grants Management Specialist

Jeannette Thomas
Museum Program Specialist

Institute of Museum and Library Services
955 L'Enfant Plaza North, SW, Suite 4000
Washington, D.C. 20024-2135

GRANTS.GOV Applicant Support

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

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