The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Preservation and Access has offered Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions since 2000. These grants help smaller and mid-sized cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections.

Awards of up to $6,000 support preservation-related collection assessments, consultations, purchase of preservation supplies and equipment, training and workshops, and institutional and collaborative disaster and emergency planning. (Applicants may request up to $7,000 if the project would support emerging professionals, as discussed below.) Preservation Assistance Grants also support assessments of digital collections, education and training in standards and best practices for digital preservation, and the care and handling of collections during digitization. NEH does not fund digitization or the development of digital programs in this grant category.  

All applications to NEH must be submitted through; see the application guidelines for details. The 2018 guidelines for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions are available at You will also find sample project descriptions, sample narratives, and a list of frequently asked questions. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2018.

Smaller and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant are encouraged to apply. We also have a special encouragement for applications from Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities, and from Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan organizations with significant humanities collections.

Mindful of the importance of preserving cultural heritage in regions affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as wildfires and mudslides in California, the program is offering special assistance of up to $10,000 to applicants in federally declared disaster areas.  In addition to the regular activities supported by Preservation Assistance Grants, applicants in these areas are encouraged to seek additional support for disaster planning, response, recovery, and mitigation; preservation assessments; conservation treatments; the temporary relocation and storage of collections; the purchase of supplies; education and training related to disaster planning and response; and the reformatting of collections as a preservation methodology.

NEH is also offering encouragements to address issues facing smaller institutions and the preservation field. To provide practical experience to emerging preservation professionals, we encourage consultants to work as mentors with advanced students or recent graduates from preservation programs who may assist in conducting preservation assessments, addressing specific preservation issues, and/or training staff at the applicant institution. Applicants may request up to an additional $1,000 if the consultant is working with emerging professionals.  To address the risk to cultural heritage materials from natural disasters, theft, and other types of destruction, NEH encourages all applicants to develop disaster plans and to work collaboratively with local institutions for training in disaster preparedness and emergency response.

See our web series, 50 States of Preservation, about PAG awardees across the country, on the website.

For more information, contact the staff of NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access at 202-606-8570 or [email protected].