Deadline: 30 January 2020
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Division of Preservation and Access is accepting applications for the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program. The purpose of this program is to help cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations by supporting sustainable conservation measures that mitigate deterioration, prolong the useful life of collections, and support institutional resilience: the ability to anticipate and respond to disasters resulting from natural or human activity.
Cultural institutions, including libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations, face an enormous challenge: to preserve humanities collections that facilitate research, strengthen teaching, and provide opportunities for lifelong learning. To ensure the preservation of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art, and historical objects, cultural institutions must implement measures that slow deterioration and prevent catastrophic loss from emergencies resulting from natural or human activity. They can accomplish this work most effectively through preventive conservation. Preventive conservation encompasses managing relative humidity, temperature, light, and pollutants in collection spaces; providing protective storage enclosures and systems for collections; and safeguarding collections from theft, fire, floods, and other disasters.
Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections offers two levels of funding:
- Planning Grants help institutions develop and assess sustainable preventive conservation strategies. These awards are up to $50,000 for a two-year period of performance.
- Planning Grants support activities such as on-site consultation, risk assessments, planning sessions, ongoing environmental monitoring programs, testing, modeling, project-specific research, and preliminary designs for implementation projects. Planning Grants must be informed by an existing preservation or collection management plan and must focus on exploring sustainable preventive conservation or resiliency strategies. They also must involve an interdisciplinary team appropriate to the goals of the project. The team may consist of consultants and members of the institution’s staff and might include architects, building engineers, conservation scientists, conservators, curators, and facilities managers, among others. A preservation/conservation professional who works with collections must be included on the planning team. All members of the team must be identified in the application, and they should all work collaboratively throughout the planning process.
- Planning Grants are intended to address complex preservation challenges, which only an interdisciplinary team can solve. Therefore, an applicant for a planning grant must have completed its basic preservation planning and identified any preservation challenges and priorities. Such basic activities as completing general preservation/conservation assessments and establishing environmental monitoring programs are not eligible for support through SCHC.
- Planning Grants might be used to:
- reevaluate environmental parameters for collections and establish realistic and achievable targets
- study the performance characteristics of buildings and building envelopes to understand how they might be used to moderate collection environments
- examine passive (nonmechanical) and low-energy alternatives to conventional energy sources and energy-intensive mechanized systems for managing environmental conditions
- analyze and optimize existing climate control systems to enable improved operation, effectiveness, and energy efficiency
- explore the potential of actively managed mechanical systems to achieve desired conditions along with energy and cost savings
- conduct a risk assessment to improve institutional resilience in the face of disasters resulting from natural or human activity
- examine options and develop strategies for lighting collection spaces in ways that protect collections while achieving improved energy efficiency
- evaluate the effectiveness of preventive conservation strategies previously implemented, including energy-efficient upgrades to existing systems and performance upgrades to buildings and building envelopes
- perform a building reserve study or reinvestment plan for infrastructure and systems associated with collection storage and display
- Implementation Grants help institutions implement preventive conservation projects. These awards are up to $350,000 for a period of performance of up to five years.
- Implementation Grants to preserve humanities collections might be used to:
- manage interior relative humidity and temperature by passive methods (such as creating buffered spaces and housing, controlling moisture at its sources, or improving the thermal and moisture performance of a building envelope)
- upgrade a building automation system to enable more active management of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system
- recommission or install heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems
- reorganize collections by material type, locating more vulnerable collections in spaces that are more naturally stable
- install storage systems and rehouse collections to reduce risk
- improve security and the protection of collections from fire, floods, and other disasters
- upgrade lighting systems and controls, to achieve energy efficiency and levels suitable for collections
- Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,800,000
- Award Ceiling: $350,000
- Award Floor: $1
Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, accredited institutions of higher education, state and local governmental agencies, and federally recognized Native American tribal governments. Individuals, foreign and for-profit entities are not eligible to apply.
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=322733