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Montana History Foundation (MHF) Grant Program

Grants to Montana Nonprofits and Agencies for
Historical Preservation Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Montana History Foundation (MHF)

Deadline Date:

01/22/18 3:30 PM


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Grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to Montana nonprofits and agencies for historical preservation and protection projects. Funding will be provided for proposals that focus on buildings and structures, historic cemeteries and sacred sites, oral history, collections and artifacts, and education and outreach. Priorities and further criteria for each of these focus areas are outlined below.

Proposals are invited for projects that will make significant contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Montana history.

Projects will receive preference that:

- Address a structure, collection, or community that is endangered or threatened
- Represent cultural or geographic diversity
- Provide a direct, rather than remote, benefit to local community
- Demonstrate financial support from the community
- Show the project will continue after the funding period is complete
- Will accomplish the work according to professional and historically accurate standards
- Demonstrate a public benefit and/or provide public accessibility

Focus Areas:

- Criteria for Buildings and Structures Grants:

For the purposes of this grant program, a building or structure shall be considered historic if it is more than 50 years old and has a documentable significance to the history of a Montana community or region. Properties should also retain sufficient integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship and other attributes that allow them to convey their significance. In some cases the proposed work may improve a property’s integrity.

Ideally the historic building or structure projects will also:
- Be associated with events that are significant to Montana history
- Be associated with the lives of a person(s) significant to Montana history
- Embody the distinctive architectural characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction unique to Montana
- Represent the work of a master or possess high artistic value
- Be threatened or endangered

Grant projects should focus on the following areas:
- Restoration or preservation of original features of the structure (architectural or decorative)
- Survey and/or assessment of an historically significant structure or group of structures
- Research about an historically significant structure or group of structures

Some examples of eligible projects include:
- One-room schoolhouse restorations (re-roofing, window replacement or repair, etc.)
- Stabilizing or repairing the foundation of an historic building
- Restoration of historically significant stained glass windows
- Preservation or restoration of an industrial structure (fire tower, kiln, water tank)
- Restoration of decorative tin work on a building facade

Note: If the building or structure identified in the proposal is not owned by the organization applying for funds, a letter of support and approval from the owner(s) must be submitted with the application.

Criteria for Cemeteries and Sacred Sites Grants:

For the purposes of this program, a cemetery or sacred site shall be considered historic if it is more than 50 years old and contains components that contribute to the historical significance of the local community.

Grant projects should focus on the following areas:
- Site identification, survey, and/or assessment
- Restoration of original markers, monuments, and architectural or decorative features
- Research, cataloging and/or inventory of historic burials
- Site interpretation, education, and/or heritage tourism

Some examples of eligible projects include:
- Cemeteries whose creation and continuity reflect the community’s history and culture
- Family burial plots that are significant to Montana history
- Sacred sites where markers, landscape, or general design exhibit artistic, stylistic, cultural, or architectural significance
- Sites whose survival is a significant reminder of an important person, culture, settlement, or event
- Sites associated with the death or commemoration of significant persons or events

Criteria for Collections and Artifacts Grants:

Organizations may apply for funding for the preservation of collections or artifacts that:
- Are threatened or endangered
- Embody the distinctive characteristics of a culture, organization, or community significant to Montana history
- Are associated with a significant event or series of events in Montana history
- Are associated with the lives of persons significant to Montana history

Grant projects should focus on the following areas:
- Conservation, preservation, and/or proper storage of artifacts or collections
- Survey and/or assessment of an historically significant artifact or collection
- Digitization of items or collections of items (all digitization projects should coordinate and document partnership with the Montana Memory Project:

Some examples of eligible projects include:
- Purchase of archival materials to facilitate proper preservation or restoration of an individual artifact or group of artifacts
- Creating an exhibit-ready replica of an artifact(s) so that the original may be preserved
- Digitizing historically significant, valuable, or fragile photographs or documents
- Creating museum-appropriate storage for significant collection(s)
- Developing an inventory of collections, a collections policy and/or exhibits plan

Criteria for Oral History Grants:

Organizations may apply for funding for oral history projects. Ideally these projects will:
- Address a rare, vanishing, or otherwise threatened subject area or population
- Capture the memories of a significant person or group who is/are at risk of disappearing
- Focus on capturing memories related to a topic significant to Montana history
- Focus on an individual or group that represents characteristics of a culture, organization, or community significant to Montana history
- Employ an expert to conduct the oral interviews and/or include provisions to train interviewers in advance of conducting oral interviews

Oral History proposals must:
- Provide a set of sample questions / material to be gathered
- Provide an example of a written release to be secured from all interviewees in order that material collected may be shared and used by others for educational purposes
- Provide a training plan for interviewers if a trained oral historian will not be conducting interviews*
- Provide specific details on how the material collected will be archived and shared online using acceptable protocols through the Montana Memory Project ( or another widely accessible repository

Some examples of eligible projects include:
- Interviews with elders and/or intergenerational interviews about ceremonies or experiences that are no longer commonly practiced
- Interviews with individuals who participated in a significant event in Montana history (a political convention, the signing of an agreement, etc.)
- Some past projects have included such topics as women in agriculture, dramatic change of northeast Montana communities as a result of the Bakken oil boom, and intertribal exchange of songs and ceremonies by Native elders

Criteria for Education and Outreach Grants:

Organizations may apply for funding for research, education and outreach that focus on some aspect of Montana history. These proposals should:
- Provide an educational opportunity for an identified audience (e.g. K-12 students, tourists, museum staff or volunteers, historic preservation officers)
- Identify and address a specific need
- Focus on a significant task (or set of tasks) or theme areas relevant and significant to Montana history

Some examples of eligible projects include:
- Surveys, inventories, and/or assessments of collections, buildings, districts or other groups of historically significant objects, sites, or structures in advance of a restoration or preservation project
- Developing a collections plan or an exhibits plan
- Developing and delivering a workshop (or series of workshops) that provide professional development opportunities for museums or preservation staff/volunteers
- Creating a walking or driving tour of a district, region or area (esp. with mobile applications)
- Developing a multi-organizational marketing tool (brochure or pamphlet for a group of heritage tourism organizations)
- Research and development of interpretive panels or signs

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177726

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Montana History Foundation offers grants of $500 to $5,000.

Term of Contract:

The funding period is from April 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019. Projects not completed within the funding period may be required to return all or a portion of the grant.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be either a non-profit tax-exempt organization (IRS designation) or an exempt governmental unit.

The Foundation does not fund:

- Grants to individuals
- General operations such as salaries and personnel expenses, rents, utilities, or other maintenance costs
- Indirect costs, overhead, and/or facilities and administrative fees
- Speakers, lectures, re-enactments, or other public presentations
- Travel or entertainment
- Sponsorships including auctions, dinners, tickets, advertising, or fundraising
- Organizations that, in policy or practice, discriminate against race, ethnic origin, sex, creed, or religion
- Projects with the purpose to satisfy, fund, or retire loans, debts or other operational deficits from previous projects or past operations
- Sectarian or religious organizations seeking funds solely for religious purposes
- Political action or legislative advocacy.

Additional Restrictions for Each Focus Area:

Buildings and Structures:

In most cases, the MHF Grants Program does not fund:

- New construction
- Renovation of interior features of the structure
- Landscaping and/or grounds maintenance
- Restoration of a private residence
- Restoration or preservation of a religious structure currently in use by an active congregation
- General operating costs such as mortgage payments, rent, general maintenance, or utilities

Historic Cemeteries and Sacred Sites:

In most cases, the MHF Grants Program does not fund:

- Disinterment of individual burials or groups of burials
- New construction or landscaping
- Ongoing landscaping expenses and/or grounds maintenance

Collections and Artifacts:

In most cases, the MHF Grants Program does not fund:

- Acquisition of collections
- Conservation or preservation of collections and artifacts primarily related to the history of a community or culture outside of Montana


In most cases, the MHF Grants Program does not fund:

- Historical re-enactments or impersonations
- Public presentations or lectures
- Individual research projects
- National Register nominations

Pre-Application Information:

Next Grant Process: November 1, 2017 – January 22, 2018 (3:30 PM)

Grant Program Categories:

- For details on Buildings and Structures grants:
- For details on Historic Cemeteries and Sacred Sites grants:
- For details on Collections and Artifacts grants:
- For details on Oral History grants:
- For details on Education and Outreach grants:

One application per organization will be accepted in a given funding year, regardless of category.

For information about grants given in 2017, see:

Note: Project budgets must include a 1:3 match (25% applicant, 75% MHF). Volunteer time may be used in this match and should be calculated at $20/hour. Successful applicants must track all match, in-kind and cash that is committed to the project as described below. Donated materials and/or volunteer services can count towards the match, along with actual cash match.

Contact Information:

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

To apply online:

Application System Technical Assistance: If you think that you or someone at your organization has already registered in the online application system, do not create a new account. Please contact the Grant Administrator, Gena Ashmore, at to receive your username and password.

General Contact Information:

Montana History Foundation
1750 North Washington Street
Helena, Montana 59601

Phone: (406) 449-3770

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Montana