IMLS Grant Guidelines Update

On June 14, Eryl Wentworth and I attended a meeting at the IMLS office to discuss concerns about the merging of Conservation Project Support (CPS) with the Museums for America (MFA) program.  IMLS staff Susan Hildreth (by phone), Mamie Bittner, Claudia French, and Connie Bodner were extremely helpful in reviewing the changes.  IMLS remains committed to support of conservation activities and recognizes that IMLS is one of the only sources of funding for conservation activities, especially for preventive care.  The IMLS has a long track record of supporting conservation projects and of making conservation a priority. That commitment is to continue.

Although CPS is under the umbrella of MFA in the new guidelines, we were assured that funding for conservation projects, in the Collections Stewardship program, will not compete with funding for the other two programs in MFA, Learning Experiences and Community Anchors.  The funding level for conservation projects is expected to remain about the same as last year, depending on ongoing federal budget negotiations.  Funding for CPS in FY 10 was $3,194,977 and for FY 11 and FY 12, $2,642,657 and $2,614,183, respectively.  We expect funding for these types of projects in FY 13 will be in the same range.  Applications will be reviewed by different, specialized panels.  The application process is being simplified, and multiple applications are welcome.  The draft application directions are available for review and comment through July 6th.
Meg Craft
AIC Board President

Collections Matter – IMLS Blog post

The previous blog post  “Respond Now to IMLS Grant Guidelines” gives information on the AIC Board of Director’s response to IMLS’s proposed grant revisions and outlines ways in which you can, and should, make your voice heard.  For more information on the topic also read the June 1 post Collections Matter on IMLS’s blog from Connie Bodner, IMLS Senior Program Officer.  In her post she describes her experience at AIC’s recent annual meeting,  mentions the proposed changes to the grant guidelines and highlights some of the recent Conservation Project Support recipients.

If you have ever applied for an IMLS grant (or intent to in the future) don’t let the opportunity pass to provide informed feedback!

Respond Now to IMLS Museum Grant Guidelines!

If you have not yet done so, please respond now to the request from IMLS posted below.  The AIC Board of Directors agree that that the proposed new grant guidelines pose a real threat to conservation funding and the long-term care of collections.  It is imperative that IMLS hear from the conservation community—from individual conservation professionals as well as from AIC as a whole.   AIC is submitting a response on behalf of the organization.  Some points taken from it include:

  • By merging Museums for America (MFA) and Conservation Project Support (CPS), there will no longer be a funding source dedicated to conservation.
  • Although multiple applications will be permitted by IMLS, multiple submissions from institutions will ultimately compete against each other.  Exhibition or education proposals, for instance, would be pitted against conservation proposals.
  • If museums focus their grant writing efforts on the support of exhibitions, education, and community outreach, the grants will provide important support for annual programming budgets, yet these funds will do little to support museum missions to preserve and make their permanent collections accessible in a more lasting way.
  • One January 15 deadline for all proposals puts a great burden on museum staff members, particularly for those working in smaller institutions.

While AIC applauds IMLS for considering changes to improve its grant services, combining the CPS and MFA programs and instituting a single application deadline will have unintended consequences that will result in museums placing less emphasis on conservation of collections.  AIC urges IMLS to consider leaving CPS as a separate program or combining it with collections stewardship.

How have the collections for which you are responsible benefited from IMLS conservation support in the past?  What impact on collections care do you envision with the implementation of the draft guidelines being presented by IMLS?

Speak up!  Now!

Thank you,

Meg Craft, AIC Board President


May 9, 2012

IMLS Press Contacts
Kevin O’Connell,
Mamie Bittner,

Draft Museum Grant Guidelines Available for Public Comment

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is seeking public comments on the draft guidelines for the FY 2013 Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs. The guidelines for these programs have been revised to align with the IMLS Strategic Plan.  We are seeking comments to assess how well these guidelines accomplish the following goals:

To see the guidelines use these links:
Museums for America
National Leadership Grants for Museums

The comment period will end on Friday, July 6, 2012.  Please send comments to Final guidelines will be posted no later than October 15, 2012.

AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Information on the NEH SCHC Grants at the Linking Environmental and Heritage Conservation luncheon. May 9, 2012

Below are the comments I made on the National Endowment for the Humanities grants for Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections during the Linking Environmental & Heritage Conservation luncheon sponsored by the Committee for Sustainable Conservation Practice Committee at AIC’s 2012 Annual Meeting:

“Thank you Sarah Nunberg and thanks also to the Committee on Sustainable Conservation Practice. I appreciate having this opportunity to say a few words about NEH’s Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant program, which we call SCHC for short. We’re emphasizing sustainability, which we know is a word with many meanings. Our intent is to help museums, libraries, and archives plan and implement preventive conservation measures in sustainable ways – in ways that balance preservation goals, cost, and environmental impact.

Some of what the program encourages includes:

  • a more risk-based, institution-specific approach to identifying preservation needs with less reliance on prescriptive targets and perceived ideals;
  • pragmatic thinking, looking first for passive ways to improve conditions for collections as well as ways to make existing buildings and systems work more effectively and efficiently;
  • matching preservation strategies to institutional capabilities; and
  • a greater awareness of an institution’s environmental footprint.

Rather than discuss the specifics of the grant program, which you can read about in our online handout  and in the guidelines, I want to stress the important role that the conservation community plays in helping NEH make this an effective grant program.

The program defines a kind of collaborative and interdisciplinary planning that we think can lead institutions to more sustainable ways of achieving preservation goals.  When we launched the program in 2009, the guidelines indicated that planning teams could include conservators, architects, engineers, facilities managers, administrators, curators and others. But conservators were not always on the teams that first year, so for the second year we added to our guidelines a statement that “a collections conservator must be a member of the project’s team.” And that has helped, but sometimes we’re seeing the conservator’s role at the front end of the planning process, providing reports and specifications, with no role or a limited one thereafter. We believe you should be at the table throughout the planning process, on into implementation, and beyond, so we’re thinking about clarifying this during our next guidelines revision.

Also, we see how important the advice is that conservators give to museums, libraries and archives through conservation assessments and consultations. Applicants append your reports and recommendations to grant applications to justify their funding requests. How can the field ensure that conservation consultants and assessors are prepared to provide risk-based, pragmatic advice that can lead to sustainable preventive conservation strategies? If more educational opportunities are part of the answer, I would mention that NEH has another grant program for preservation education and training, with a deadline coming up June 28.

It is also important for institutions to share more about what they are doing to balance preservation goals, costs, and environmental impact. SCHC grantees are required to write “white papers” to share lessons learned. Starting this summer, my Division of Preservation and Access will begin posting these papers on our Web page from grantees who have completed their projects. We’ll make sure to alert you to their availability.

And, in early August, we’ll be announcing the third round of SCHC awards, and I think there will be some projects that should be of great interest to the field, so stay tuned. Visit our website if you are interested in seeing a list of awards from the first two years.

I also want to mention that we will be revising the grant guidelines for the next deadline, which will be December 4, 2012. If you would like to offer comments or suggestions about strengthening the program and the guidelines, please contact me by June 8 by email to or call me at 202 606-8501.

Finally, I want to congratulate you on the formation of this committee on sustainable conservation practice and on the creation of the Collection Care Network. We look forward to following your very important work. Thank you.”

York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship Bursaries and Grants

Grants and Bursaries for the Training of Craftsmen and Conservators York Foundation for Conservation and Craftsmanship

Applications are invited by the York Foundation for Conservation and Craftsmanship for bursaries to assist the training of craftsmen and conservators. Bursaries of up to UKP1500 each are available to further the knowledge and skills of craftsmen and conservators at various stages of their careers. This can include CPD courses. Bursaries of up to UKP3000 are offered to encourage and assist established craftsmen and conservators to take on a new apprentice/trainee.

The total sum available is UKP11,000, made up of UKP7000 from the Foundation’s own Bursary Fund, and UKP4,000 funded by three organisations which support the Foundation’s aims: the York Company of Merchant Taylors, the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Freemasons, and the Historic Houses Association (Yorkshire Region). While these latter awards are restricted to people with links to York and
Yorkshire (UK), the other awards have no such restriction (though if all other things prove equal, preference will be given to an applicant living, training or employed in the Yorkshire Region).

Applications will be judged on merit and need, and there are no restrictions on who may apply. Employers may apply on behalf of employees. Bursaries will not generally be awarded to assist the funding of a student’s undergraduate degree or equivalent course. In the case of individual applications preference will be given to those seeking advanced skills or training in crafts/specialities in
short supply.

The Trustees are particularly keen to facilitate the taking on of new trainees/apprentices. This would include someone starting out or part way through a three year apprenticeship, or a person not yet
in the trade/profession but who, having had some basic skills training or relevant experience, needs further skills training to qualify. Applications for such bursaries would normally be expected
from the potential employer, and could be used in a variety of ways to reduce the employer’s costs, e.g. those costs related to the introductory training demanded by legal requirements. That should
not preclude applications from employers for other purposes, nor from potential trainees who have identified a committed potential employer.

In 2011 eight awards were made ranging in value from UKP500 to UKP3000. The winners included a roofing contractor, a stonemason, a silversmith, and two MA students in stained glass conservation. A
full list of 2011 and previous year’s winners can be found at

Application forms and Guidance Notes may be obtained from the Secretary of the Foundation by email to conservationyork [at] hotmail__com

or by post:

The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall
York YO1 9XD

The closing date for receipt of applications is Saturday 31 March 2012.

Apply for the Rathgen Heritage Science Scholarship 2012 by February 12th

Rathgen Heritage Science Scholarship 2012
Friends of Rathgen (Farderkreis des Rathgen-Forschungslabors e.V)

The Rathgen Research Laboratory is
the leading institution for conservation science, art technology and
archaeometry at the National Museums in Berlin. It carries out
investigations on a broad variety of materials within the museum
environment and focuses its research on scientific issues concerning
the care of monuments and archaeological sites.

It carries forward the tradition of the world ‘s oldest scientific
museum laboratory, the Chemical Laboratory of the Royal Museums in
Berlin, which was founded on April 1, 1888 and bears the name of its
first director, Friedrich Rathgen.

It is the mission of the Friends of Rathgen (Farderkreis des
Rathgen-Forschungslabors e.V.) to support the work of the Rathgen
Research Laboratory in various ways, among others by supporting
research projects of young professionals in heritage science.

To this end, the Rathgen Heritage Science Scholarships have been
established in 2009 and are awarded annually.

The Rathgen Heritage Science Scholarship enables young professionals
to undertake a project at the laboratory within 1-3 month duration.
The topic is proposed by the applicant. Successful applicants will
receive a scholarship for Post-Graduate Scholarship of 900 Euro per
month and Post-doc Scholarship 1200 Euro per month.

The application consists of:

1-2 pages explaining the research proposal, the required
resources and the envisaged time frame, including preliminary
work accomplished and short bibliography

CV including list of publications

2 reference letters of support

Deadline for 2012 applications is February 12, 2012.

Please submit your application electronically to
rf-info [at] smb__spk-berlin__de or by mail to

Schlossstrasse 1 A
14059 Berlin, Germany

Prof. Dr. Stefan Simon
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
+49 30 326749 0
Fax: +49 30 326749 12

Workshop Instructors-Elissa O’Loughlin, Linda Morenus, Doug Nishimura, Barbara Lemmen

I was fortunate to receive an FAIC grant to attend the fall workshop, “Removal of Pressure-sensitive Tapes and Tape Stains from Photographs.” That grant made my attendance possible. As a conservator in private practice who graduated from the Cooperstown Art Conservation program in the early 1980’s, I have certainly attended a few workshops and professional meetings over the years. But I cannot speak highly enough of this week long chance to review material (Teas Charts!!) covered in a classroom over 30 years ago, to exchange ideas and information with new colleagues from not only the U.S.  but also Columbia, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands – and to brush up my laboratory skills. It was a fabulous retreat at the NCTC site in Shepherdstown, WV and the instructors could not have been more helpful. I would encourage all “mid-career” conservators to treat themselves to this type of workshop.

NEH Announces Grants for Sustainable Preservation Strategies

Just want to alert potential U.S. nonprofit museums, libraries, and archives about new guidelines and some changes for the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant program, offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Grants will be available to plan and implement preventive conservation projects in ways that are cost effective, energy efficient, and environmentally sensitive and that aim to mitigate greatest risks rather than to meet prescriptive targets. Preventive conservation measures may encompass managing relative humidity, temperature, light and pollutants in collection spaces; providing protective storage enclosures and systems for collections; and safeguarding collections from theft and from natural and man-made disasters.

Planning grants of up to $40,000 and implementation grants of up to

$350,000 will be available.

New This Year:  To enhance the outcomes of planning grants and to encourage incremental improvements in the care of collections, applicants for planning projects may request up to an additional

$10,000 to carry out one or more recommendations made by the interdisciplinary planning team during the course of the project.

Such work could help demonstrate the benefits of sustainable preservation strategies or lead to new information or changes in conditions that would influence “next steps.” For such planning projects, the maximum award would be $50,000.

The deadline will be December 1, 2011. The new guidelines should be posted by mid-September, 2011 and will contain a more detailed description of planning projects and the range of activities that are eligible for support.  We will send out a second announcement when the guidelines are posted. Please feel free to contact the division for more information by emailing preservation [at] neh__gov or calling 202-606-8570.