March 24, 2021

New Report Explores Capacity Building Opportunities for Museums

New Report Explores Capacity Building Opportunities for Museums Cover

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services and Partners for Public Good (PPG) are pleased to announce a new report on the state of capacity building in the museum sector and opportunities for further exploration.

Museums serve communities by providing learning opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, partnering with other organizations to address community needs, and preserving the objects and artifacts entrusted to them by the public. Just like other organizations, museums must have institutional capacity: the skills, knowledge, and systems to adapt to changes in the environment; operate efficiently; and remain relevant to stakeholders.

IMLS collaborated with PPG to conduct the study, a Market Analysis and Opportunity Assessment of Museum Capacity Building Programs, to gain a holistic understanding of the needs for capacity building support, identify potential gaps in the current capacity building offerings, and define new opportunities and approaches for both IMLS and the museum community.

“For decades, IMLS has invested in organizational capacity building programs, such as the Museum Assessment Program, the STePs program for history organizations, HELP for small Midwestern museums, and Museums Empowered,” said Christopher Reich, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services. “This study helps IMLS align its grantmaking with current needs, while helping the entire museum sector better understand the nature of capacity building to assist them in focusing their efforts in a constantly changing world.”

The study engaged a wide variety of stakeholders, with a focus on small and medium sized museums, to capture a range of perspectives throughout the sector. A mixed method approach collected both quantitative and qualitative data through an online survey, interviews, and focus groups with museum leaders, funders, capacity builders, and museum associations. A steering committee of museum practitioners and a Subject Matter Expert Committee provided guidance throughout the process.

“Museums have been adapting to the world around them for centuries,” said PPG’s Tim Hausmann and Samantha Hackney in a statement. “In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial reckoning underscored the need for museums to lean into continual adaptation to ensure they remain relevant to their audiences and vital to their communities. This report highlights the collective capacity building efforts required by funders, museum associations, and museum leadership to support effective museum adaptation.”

For more information and the full report, 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. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Partners for Public Good
Partners for Public Good (PPG) is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization established under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. PPG, the charitable affiliate of TCC Group, was incorporated in 2017 for the purpose of conducting and supporting activities that facilitate and promote an effective charitable sector, strengthen the governance mechanisms of nonprofit organizations and foster collaboration and inclusive impact programming across and within the sector, including through the provision of educational initiatives, technical assistance, and strategic planning and guidance. For more information, please contact PPG at

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