August 4, 2022

IMLS Invests More than $29 Million in Grants to Museums Across America
Projects to Foster Community Engagement, Lifelong Learning, Collections Care

Children participate in play-based learning activities.
Children participate in play-based learning activities. (Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, IGSM-245313-OMS-20. Copyright

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced grant awards totaling $29,681,960 for museums across the nation to improve services to their communities.

Through the agency’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, and its special initiatives, Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, a total of 199 projects were selected from 587 applications requesting $77,398,780. Institutions receiving awards are matching them with $42,810,645 in non-federal funds.

“The Museum World in all its glories of gardens, science, art, history, flora, fauna, and fish are what we need to celebrate the flourishing of our humanity after some dark days of our public and civic world being almost entirely virtual,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “These grants in our museum programs sustain and move forward all the worldly and other-worldly joy and enlightenment they bring us.”

Museums for America supports projects that strengthen the ability of individual museums to benefit the public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences, maximizing resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to their care. 120 projects were funded through this year’s Museums for America program, including:

  • The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will provide conservation and sustainability education about aquaculture, sustainable fisheries, and coral propagation through a new exhibition and related activities. The Future Waters exhibit will feature multimedia experiences to showcase the “behind-the-scenes” work of aquarists, a 750-gallon habitat featuring a sustainable fisheries project, and an interactive opportunity to engage with the coral rearing area of the aquarium. Paid interns will provide interpretation to the public, while working in the visible labs within the exhibit.

  • Paine Art Center and Gardens will partner with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the Oshkosh Area School District to develop ArtsCore Adventures, a new set of arts integrated field trips and activities for PreK–12 students. These new field trips will enhance the museum’s existing ArtsCore program, a professional development program for teachers that provides training in arts integration. At project completion, ArtsCore teacher alumni will have access to at least 10 new ArtsCore Adventures as they develop and implement an arts-integrated curriculum and bring their students to the Paine Art Center and Gardens for engaging field trip experiences.

Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff is a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program supporting staff capacity-building projects that use professional development to generate systemic change within a museum. Each of the 20 recipient institutions will focus their projects on one of four categories: digital technology, diversity and inclusion, evaluation, or organizational management. Examples include:

  • The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture will implement a paid apprenticeship program designed to increase equity and inclusion in the museum field and preservation trades. The program seeks to recruit up to 36 young people from low-income families in Baltimore who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit. Museum staff and other experts will provide each cohort with essential life and professional skills during a 10-month apprenticeship program that will provide a foundation for careers in exhibition installation, art handling, historic preservation, and related trades.

  • The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will develop a training program for emerging leaders in the museum. Long-term outcomes of the leadership training include strengthened leadership capacity; increased employee engagement; and progress in succession planning through growing diverse future leaders. This project will develop a tested leadership training model for museum professionals and strengthen the museum’s organizational culture.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program, was designed to reduce the application burden on small museums and help them address priorities identified in their strategic plans. The 59 recipients will focus on lifelong learning experiences, institutional capacity building, and collections stewardship and access. Examples include:

  • The Pioneer Trails Regional Museum will improve the management and care of its fossil collections and provide greater accessibility for both staff and the public. The project will focus on over 50,000 specimens from the Hell Creek site, which includes fossils that help detail the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event and recovery. The museum’s paleontology curator will work with volunteers and seasonal curatorial assistants to conduct a complete inventory, rehouse, and photograph specimens, and input associated data into a collections database.

  • Brattleboro Museum and Art Center will enhance access for people with disabilities. Project activities will include developing an accessible website with an accessibility page and inclusive online programs as well as training staff in developing and implementing enabling programs and exhibits. This work is part of a larger effort to develop an accessibility plan with input from members of the community with disabilities, and then update museum offerings to better meet the needs of people with disabilities.

“This year’s awardees demonstrate the continuous learning efforts of museums,” said Laura Huerta Migus, Deputy Director, Office of Museum Services. “These projects reflect the implementation of lessons learned to revitalize museum practice and workforces while continuing to serve their communities.”

The FY 2023 Notices of Funding Opportunity for these three programs will be posted later this month. The anticipated application deadline is November 15, 2022. For more information, please visit the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. IMLS envisions a nation where individuals and communities have access to museums and libraries to learn from and be inspired by the trusted information, ideas, and stories they contain about our diverse natural and cultural heritage. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums
Museums Empowered
Museums for America