NEH grants for preserving collections in sustainable ways

Guidelines have been posted for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grants.¬† U.S. nonprofit museums, libraries, archives, and educational institutions can apply for grants to plan and implement preservation strategies that pragmatically balance effectiveness, cost, and environmental impact. Projects should be designed to be as cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally sensitive as possible, and they should aim to mitigate the greatest risks to collections rather than to meet prescriptive targets.

Apply for planning grants of up to $40,000 (with an option of up to $50,000) to bring together interdisciplinary teams that might reevaluate environmental parameters for collections and examine passive (nonmechanical) and low-energy alternatives to conventional energy sources and energy-intensive mechanized systems for managing collection environments.  Testing, modeling, or project-specific research may help applicants better understand collection environments and formulate sustainable preservation strategies; therefore, with planning grants you might measure energy consumption; use blower door tests to identify air leaks in buildings; create mock-ups of lighting options; test natural ventilation methods; conduct thermal imaging of buildings; test the effect of buffered storage enclosures on moderating fluctuating environmental conditions; re-commission small-scale climate control systems; or adjust the operating protocols for climate control systems.

Apply for implementation grants of up to $350,000 to manage interior relative humidity and temperature by passive methods; install heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems; install storage systems and rehouse collections; improve  security and the protection of collections from fire, flood, and other disasters; and upgrade lighting systems and controls to achieve levels suitable for collections that are energy efficient. Projects that seek to implement preventive conservation measures in sustainable ways are especially encouraged.

Deadline: December 4, 2012

Guidelines: www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/SCHC.html

FAQs: www.neh.gov/files/grants/sustaining-cultural-heritage-faqs_2012.pdf

Program officers are available to discuss project ideas and read draft proposals. Please contact the division for more information by emailing preservation [at] neh__gov or calling 202-606-8570.

Laura Word
Senior Program Officer
Division of Preservation and Access
National Endowment for the Humanities