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Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives

Grants to USA Nonprofits, IHEs, Agencies, and
Tribes to Enhance Access to Historical Resources

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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National Archives and Records Administration

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/11/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations, colleges, universities, government agencies, and Native American tribes to increase access to historical resources and promote understanding of the nation’s history, culture, and democracy. Preliminary proposals are due January 18.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve public discovery and use of major historical records collections. All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images.

Projects may:
-Digitize historical records collections, or related collections, held by a single institution and make them freely available online
-Create new freely-available virtual collections drawn from historical records held by multiple institutions
-Provide access to born-digital records
-Create new tools and methods for users to access records

The NHPRC welcomes collaborative projects, particularly for bringing together related records from multiple institutions. Projects that address significant needs in the field and result in replicable and scalable approaches will be more competitive. The NHPRC also encourages organizations to actively engage the public in the work of the project.

The Commission funds projects that deal with the following kinds of historical source material:
-Records of state, county, municipal, tribal, or other non-Federal units of government
-Manuscripts, personal and family papers, or organizational and business archives
-Collections of photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, electronic records, and/or such visual materials as unpublished architectural, cartographic, and engineering drawings

The Commission funds projects that focus on the following activities authorized in the NHPRC statute:
-Collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, and publishing (including microfilming and other forms of reproduction) documentary sources significant to the history of the United States
-Implementing solutions to the challenges of preserving electronic records with permanent historical value
-Conducting institutes and training and educational programs
-Disseminating information about documentary sources through guides, directories, and other technical publications
-Documentary editing and publishing; archival preservation and processing of records for access; developing or updating descriptive systems; creation and development of archival and records management programs; development of standards, tools, and techniques to advance the work of archivists, records managers, and documentary editors; and promotion of the use of records by teachers, students, and the public.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 169900

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

NHPRC expects to make up to five grants in this category.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards will be between $100,000 and $350,000.

Term of Contract:

NHPRC support begins no earlier than January 1, 2019.

A grant is for one to three years.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants:
-U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions
-U.S. colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
-State or local government agencies
-Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups

The Commission does NOT fund projects to undertake the following activities:
-To construct, renovate, furnish, or purchase a building or land
-To purchase manuscripts or other historical records
-To exhibit or conserve archaeological artifacts, museum objects, or works of art
-To undertake historical research apart from the editing of documentary publications
-To undertake an oral history project unrelated to Native Americans
-To catalog, acquire, or preserve books, periodicals, or other library materials
-To acquire, preserve, or describe art objects, sheet music, or other works primarily of value as works of art or entertainment
-To undertake a documentary editing project to publish the papers of someone who has been deceased for fewer than ten years
-To undertake an archival project centered on the papers of an appointed or elected public official who remains in major office, or is politically active, or the majority of whose papers have not yet been accessioned in a repository
-To undertake an arrangement, description, or preservation project in which the pertinent documents are privately owned or deposited in an institution subject to withdrawal upon demand for reasons other than requirements of law
-To undertake arrangement, description, or preservation projects involving Federal government records that are (a) in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), or (b) in the custody of some other Federal agency, or (c) have been deposited in a non-Federal institution without an agreement authorized by NARA. Many Federally funded activities not undertaken by the government itself produce documents that may in law be considered Federal records, including records produced under Federal contracts or grants. If your project deals with Federal records, you should talk further with the NHPRC staff.

As part of its funding restrictions, the Commission has deemed ineligible those projects in which:
-A major portion of the processed documents will be kept closed to researchers for more than five years,
-Documents are not accessible to all qualified users on equal terms,
-It is the repository's policy to deny public access, or
-A repository charges fees for making available the materials in its holdings. However, reasonable fees may be charged for copying material or providing special services or facilities not provided to all researchers.

Pre-Application Information:

The Commission provides no more than 50 per cent of total project costs in the Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives category. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs.

Cost sharing is required. The applicant's financial contribution may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant's cost sharing contribution.

Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application.

All applicants must have submitted a Preliminary Proposal by January 18, 2018.

Only those applicants who have successfully completed Phase One and who have been invited by the Commission to submit a full proposal to the Access to Historical Records: Major Initiatives program are eligible to participate in the second phase of the process.

Successful preliminary proposal applicants will learn whether they have been invited to submit a full application under the Major Initiatives category by April 16, 2018.

If you have been invited, prepare and submit a complete application to the full Major Initiatives grant announcement via by July 11, 2018, 11:59 PM ET.

Preliminary Proposal Announcement:


Application Instructions:

View this opportunity on

Contact Information:

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

Alexander Lorch, Director of the Access Program

Nancy Melley, Director for Technology Initiatives

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


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