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Museum Assessment Program (MAP)

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

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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

Deadline Date:



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In-kind grants valued at up to $6,000 to USA and territories medium and small-sized nonprofit and government museums to evaluate and improve operations and prepare for the future. Funding is intended to support museums through institutional activities, self-assessment, and consultative peer review with a site visit and recommendations.

The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) program offers five different assessments:

Organizational Assessment:

This basic strategic and holistic assessment helps a museum look at its operations primarily from the perspective of how well activities, resources, and mission align with each other, and with professional ethics, practices, and standards.

Collections Stewardship Assessment:

This assessment focuses on practical, ethical, and strategic collections issues and activities related to the care and management of a museum’s collections per professional practices and standards. It also looks at the collections within the context of the museum’s total operations, plans, and resource allocation.

Education and Interpretation Assessment:

This assessment helps a museum evaluate how well it is carrying out its educational role and mission, meeting core standards for education and interpretation. In addition to looking at the museum’s current content delivery vehicles such as its exhibitions, tours, and programs, the Education and Interpretation Assessment considers these in context with the museum’s community, audiences, and other aspects of operations so the museum can be responsive, relevant, and trusted source of learning and educational partner in its larger education ecosystem.

Community and Audience Engagement Assessment:

This assessment focuses on the museum’s awareness and understanding of, and relationship with, its various communities and audiences; and their perception of, and experience with, the museum. It looks at what roles the museum plays in its community and vice versa. And it helps the museum look at its culture and actions when it comes to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion—all of which impact its long-term financial sustainability.

Board Leadership Assessment:

This advanced assessment is for private non-profit museums with policy-making boards and paid staff which are looking for guidance on how to strengthen their institution and ensure its long-term success through more effective leadership-oriented governance.

Detailed information about the assessment types can be found at

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163856

Estimated Size of Grant:

Your MAP participation includes the following materials and services, valued at approximately $4,000 - $6,000*:
- MAP Self-Study Materials: Workbook and Activities
- Access to an online MAP Portal with customized presentations, activities, and resources to help you through each step of the MAP experience
- Assessment Report: a written report of the Peer Reviewer’s findings and recommendations, with prioritized next steps and resources
- The time, expertise, and travel expenses (transportation, meals, incidentals, lodging) for one Peer Reviewer to visit your museum for one to three days and offer guidance and consultation on site
- Peer Reviewer's honorarium
- A dedicated MAP Program Officer for support, guidance, and feedback

* Please note: Your museum's MAP participation is IMLS funded but is not a grant given to your institution. AAM receives grant funding from IMLS to deliver this comprehensive program and service to your museum. AAM does not disperse any money to your museum.

Term of Contract:

The program is a one-year process.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All types of general and specialized museums are eligible for MAP.

Eligible institutions include aquariums, art museums, children/youth museums, general museums, historic houses/sites, history museums, national history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, public gardens, science/technology museums, specialized museums, and zoos.

The following eligibility criteria apply to all applicants, regardless of which assessment is selected.

The applicant museum must:
- Be organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes;
- Care for, and own or use, tangible objects, whether animate or inanimate, and make them available to the general public through exhibition and/or research on a regular basis through facilities it owns or operates.
- Be a unit of state, local, or tribal government or a private nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.
- Have at least one professional staff member or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, whose responsibilities relate solely to the museum’s operations.
- Be open and providing museum services to the general public on a regular basis (a museum that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 90 days fulfills this requirement). If a museum is not scheduled to be open to the public 90 days a year, it is still eligible to participate in MAP if it can demonstrate that it was open at least 90 days in the preceding year through a combination of scheduled days open and days open by appointment; traveling exhibits, digital exhibits, and access to online collections may also be considered. To account for COVID-19 related closures and opening limitations, 2019 and 2020 data will be considered to determine the 90 days open eligibility requirement. The application questions address both pre and post-COVID-19 schedules.
- Be located in one of the fifty states of the U.S., the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
- Not be operated by the U.S. federal government. (If your museum is a federal institution, contact the MAP staff to discuss how it can still participate in MAP on a fee-for-services basis.)

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;
- Is an identifiably discrete unit within the parent organization;
- Has the authority to function and operate autonomously within the parent organization.

When any of the eligibility criteria cannot be met, a museum may apply through its parent organization, and the parent organization may apply for one or more of its museums.

Specific criteria for the different types of assessments can be found starting at

Museums that previously completed an IMLS-funded MAP assessment are eligible to participate again in the same type of assessment if seven years have passed since the original assessment. There is no waiting period to do a different assessment.

Pre-Application Information:

The upcoming MAP Application Deadline is February 1, 2021.

Museum Assessment Program (MAP) application process:
1. Confirm your museum is eligible to participate.
2. Review MAP costs, process and schedule and ensure your museum has the time, resources, capacity, and buy-in to undertake an assessment.
3. Choose your Assessment Type and verify that you meet any special additional eligibility requirements.
4. Read the Application FAQs and use the links included to download the fillable PDF MAP Sample Application to use for planning and drafting your responses to application questions.
5. The Application FAQs also include access to the official online application form. You will enter your contact information and then receive a link to the full online application via email. After submitting a completed application, you will receive a confirmation email.
6. Applications will be accepted September 2020 through February 1, 2021.
7. Look for email notification of acceptance status 30-45 days after the application deadline.

The application is submitted through an online system where you will answer questions and upload documents. Applications submitted by email or sent in hard copy will not be considered.

MAP offers five assessments. Choose the assessment that’s right for your museum by using the short questionnaire (in Supporting Documents below) to narrow it down.

The MAP process consists of submitting an application; completing a self-study workbook and activities; undergoing a site visit; receiving a final report, and documenting immediate and longer-term action steps informed by the report.

Organizations must provide a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Organizations can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling the toll-free request line at 1-800-526-9018 or by visiting

Applicants are strongly recommended to work on a draft application using the fillable PDF Sample Application (in Supporting Documents below) ahead of time, and then copy and paste the answers into the official online application before submitting the application.

MAP staff will process the museum's application and notify the Primary Contact about the acceptance status approximately 30-45 days after the application deadline. If accepted, MAP staff will e-mail an acceptance letter, which you will be required to sign and return in approximately two weeks. Participation fees will be invoiced shortly after acceptance. Payment is required within 30 days of the date of the invoice.

Information about participation fees can be found at

About MAP:

Assessment Types:


Costs and Services:

Application FAQs:

Contact Information:

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

Online application form:

Direct questions to or to 202.289.9118.

Mailing Address:
2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005
Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 202-289-1818
Fax: 202-289-6578

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)

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