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Museum Assessment Program (MAP)

In-Kind Grants of Planning and Evaluation Services to
USA and Territories Nonprofit and Government Museums

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Deadline Date:

02/01/18 Postmarked


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In-kind grants valued at approximately $4,000 to USA and territories nonprofit and government museums to evaluate their operations and prepare for the future. This program can assist museums with the following types of assessments: collections stewardship assessment, community engagement assessment, and organizational assessment.

A MAP assessment requires members of the museum staff and governing authority to complete a self-study. After completion of the self-study, a site visit is conducted by one or more museum professionals, who tour the museum and meet with staff, governing officials, and volunteers. The reviewers work with the museum and MAP staff to produce a report evaluating the museum's operations, making recommendations, and suggesting resources.

Assessment Types:

Organizational Assessment - Reviews all operational areas. Upon completion, a museum is better prepared to operate as a 21st-century museum with a strong understanding of core museum standards and good practices that support sustainability. This assessment places significant emphasis on strategic planning as well as ensuring operations and resources align with the museum’s mission.

Collections Stewardship Assessment - Focuses on collections policies, planning, access and documentation within the context of the museum’s total operations. The scope of the assessment includes collections care and use, acquisitions and deaccessioning, legal, ethical, and safety issues, documentation, inventory, and emergency planning.

Community Engagement Assessment - Assesses the museum’s understanding of and relationship with its various communities and the communities’ perception of and experience with the museum. It helps museums gather better input from their constituents, develop a more nuanced view about the community’s demographics and needs, respond to the changing nature of its audiences and incorporate these findings into planning and operational decisions. It helps museums form new collaborations and strengthen old ones.

If applying for the Community Engagement Assessment, MAP staff strongly recommends that the museum have:

-A formal and approved mission statement. An approved mission statement indicates a clear institutional self-image that can be tested against the community’s perception.

-Previous experience with self-study, as that helps you manage assessment logistics, which need to involve members of your museum’s community and audiences.

-An established process for institutional/strategic planning, ensuring a way of using the large amount of information that will result from your museum’s self-study and report.

Through a Cooperative Agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, AAM is able to offer MAP assessments at a low cost to museums that meet the eligibility criteria. The participation fee is based on your annual operating expenses and is due at the beginning of the process.

Participation Fees:

-Annual Operating Cost of $125,000 or less: Free
-Annual Operating Cost of $125,001-$400,000: $350
-Annual Operating Cost of $400,001-$1 million: $550
-Annual Operating Cost of More than $1 million: $750

Other possible costs:

-$1,350 to add a second peer reviewer (optional)
-Peer Reviewer site visit travel expenses that exceed the cap set by MAP
-Costs associated with food or beverage for when the Peer Reviewer(s) is on-site
-Postage, photocopying, and long-distance telephone charges

MAP includes the following services, valued at approximately $4,000-$6,000*

- The time, expertise, and travel expenses for one peer museum professional to visit your museum for 1-3 days and offer guidance and consultation
- A written report of the Peer Reviewer’s findings and recommendations, with prioritized next steps and resources MAP
- Self-Study Materials: a detailed workbook with questions and activities
- 3 live webinars to help you through each step of the MAP experience
- AAM’s recorded Museum Essentials Webinar Series
- An essential set of books from the Alliance Bookstore targeted to your assessment type
- Access to extensive resources, sample documents and customized reference services through the Information Center
- MAP staff guidance and feedback
- A certificate of completion.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163856

Estimated Size of Grant:

MAP includes services valued at approximately $4,000.

Term of Contract:

MAP can be completed in under a year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All types of museums are eligible for MAP. To participate, a museum must be organized for educational or aesthetic purposes.

-Own or use tangible objects and exhibit these objects on a regular basis through facilities it owns or operates.

-Be a unit of state or local government or a 501(c)3 private, nonprofit organization. (If your museum is a federal institution, contact the MAP staff to discuss how it can still participate in MAP.)

-Have at least one staff member or the full-time equivalent, paid or unpaid, whose responsibilities relate solely to the museum’s services and operations.

-Be open and provide museum services to the public at least 90 days in the current or preceding year.

-Be located in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. (If your museum is located elsewhere, contact the MAP staff to discuss how it can still participate in MAP.)

Museums with Parent Organizations:

Museums that operate within a non-federal parent organization are eligible to apply and participate in MAP. A museum operated within a multi-purpose public or private nonprofit organization such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center may apply if:

-It is able to independently fulfill all the requirements for eligibility listed above;

-Functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;

-Has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget;

-Has the authority to apply on its own

When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may apply through its parent organization, and the parent organization may submit an application(s) for one or more of its museums.


You can reapply to do a different assessment type or repeat one.

A different assessment: museums are eligible to apply at any time

Repeating the same assessment type: Museums are eligible to participate again in the same type of assessment if seven years have passed since the original assessment.

All applicants that have done a MAP previously are asked to demonstrate their accomplishments since their last assessment and explain why they are seeking a new assessment.

Pre-Application Information:

The next deadline is February 1, 2018. You will be notified of acceptance approximately one month after the deadline.

The program may require participation fees which are based on your annual operating expenses and is due at the beginning of the process. See the Description above or the Costs and Services link below for details.


Assessment Types:

Costs and Services:


Contact Information:

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

Submit the application to

Or mail to:

American Alliance of Museums
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005
Arlington VA 22202


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)