The Museum Data Files (MDF) updated in 2018 are a set of three files, based on museum discipline.

Purpose: The files provide information about museums and related organizations in the United States.

Coverage: The frame is restricted to establishments in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Content: Data includes information about museum location (including geocode data), museum discipline, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities codes, DUNS, EIN, Regional classifications (American Alliance of Museums and the Bureau of Economic Analysis categorization schemes) and IRS 990 revenue information. For more information, see the Data File Documentation and Users Guide (PDF 581KB).

Frequency:  Previous files were posted under the name "Museum Universe Data File (MUDF)" in FY 2014 Q1, FY 2015 Q1 and FY 2015 Q3. IMLS has no plans to update the museum files. Other researchers, such as those working on the IMLS-funded study titled Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation's Libraries and Museums are working with the data in the three museum files and will share their findings as these are available. 

Methods: File entries were compiled from multiple sources, including IMLS administrative data and records, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) nonprofit data (e.g., 990, 990-EZ, 990-N), lists of grantees from private foundations, museum associations, and data obtained from third party commercial vendors. As with any compilation of data from multiple original source lists, file entries were de-duplicated to the extent feasible using a combination of statistical algorithms and manual entry review. Additionally, file entries were subjected to review to update and verify data elements, identify duplication not captured algorithmically, and identify entries that were not eligible for inclusion. These methods are more fully described in the Data File Documentation and User's Guide (PDF 581KB).

Use: These files are useful to researchers, journalists, the public, local practitioners, and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels for planning, evaluation, and policy making.