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Grants to USA Agencies and Nonprofits
and Tribes to Enhance Small Museums

Inspire! Grants for Small 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 of up to $50,000 to USA and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and Tribes to enhance services in small museums. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to several weeks to complete. Funding is intended to support small museums of all disciplines in project-based efforts to serve the public through exhibitions, educational/interpretive programs, digital learning resources, professional development, community debate and dialogue, audience-focused studies, and/or collections management, curation, care, and conservation.

Inspire! has three project categories:

  • Lifelong Learning
  • Institutional Capacity
  • Collections Stewardship and Access

For allowable costs, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184387

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Anticipated number of awards: 65

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $50,000
- Award Floor: $5,000

Term of Contract:

Beginning Date of Period of Performance: Projects must begin on September 1, 2022.

Anticipated period of performance: September 1, 2022 - August 31, 2024. Project activities may be carried out for one to two years

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an award under this Inspire! Grants for Small 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.

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

Eligibility of Museums Located within a Parent Organization:
A museum located within a parent organization that is a State, local, or tribal government or multipurpose nonprofit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum:
- Is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed in the above three criteria;
- Functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;
- Has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget; and
- Has the authority to make the application on its own.
When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may only apply through its parent organization.

Eligibility of Nonprofit Organization Affiliated with a Museum
IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of this Notice of Funding Opportunity and the applicable law, including the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

Eligibility of Nonprofit Organization Affiliated with a Museum
IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of this Notice of Funding Opportunity and the applicable law, including the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

The following list includes some examples of unallowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share under this announcement:
- General fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising
- Contributions to endowments
- General operating support
- Acquisition of collections (see 2 C.F.R. § 3187.15(b))
- General advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other than those related to the specific project
- Construction or renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving the construction trades is not an allowable cost)
- Social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment
- Research projects (see 2 C.F.R. § 200.1)
If you have questions about whether specific activities are allowable, contact IMLS staff for guidance.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Deadline 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)

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.

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

View this opportunity on

Click here to access the webinar recording or to read the transcript:

Contact Information:

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

If you have questions, please contact any of the staff members listed under the category that best fits your project:

Lifelong Learning and Community Anchors:
Reagan Moore
Senior Museum Program Officer

Lifelong Learning
Laura Zamarripa
Museum Program Specialist

Community Anchors:
Jennifer Anstadt
Museum Program Specialist

Collections Stewardship and Access
Mark Feitl
Senior Museum Program Officer

Collections Stewardship and Access
Lola Clairmont
Museum Program Specialist

To request an audio recording of this announcement, call 202-653-4744. To request a paper copy of this announcement, call 202-653-4744 or email

Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing (TTY Users) can contact IMLS at 202-207-7858 via 711 for TTY-Based Telecommunications Relay Service.

Visit the Federal Service Desk at or call 1-866-606-8220 for questions about registering or renewing your registration with or Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Visit Support at, email, or call Applicant Support at 1-800-518-4726 for assistance with software issues, registration issues, and technical problems. Applicant Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for federal holidays.

Be sure to obtain a case number when calling the Federal Service Desk or for 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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