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Museums Empowered: Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff

Grants to USA Nonprofit and Governmental Museums
for Capacity Building and Staff Development

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Museums for America (MFA)

Deadline Date:

03/01/18 11:59 PM ET

Description:

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Grants starting at $5,000 to USA and territories nonprofit and governmental museums to improve capacity to serve public audiences. Applicants are advised to allow at least two weeks to complete the online registration process. This program supports professional development activities involving various departments that will promote systemic change within an individual museum.

As centers of innovation and discovery, as well as catalysts of community revitalization, museums are at the forefront of change in communities. Like any other institution, museums need to remain dynamic to respond to fast-evolving technological advances and changing demographics. Museums also need to generate and share outcomes-based data and demonstrate results of their community impact efforts. In addition they need to develop sustainable organizational structures and strategies for continued growth and vitality. Professional development is critical for museums to deliver on these areas of need.

IMLS encourages applicants to invest in the professional development of museum staff, volunteers, and board members to enhance their skills and ensure the highest standards in all aspects of museum operations. This includes, but is not limited to, creating opportunities to encourage a more inclusive and diverse museum professional and volunteer workforce, and building the skills of museum staff at all levels with emphasis on the development of the next generation of museum professionals.

To support and empower museums of all sizes and disciplines in responding to the evolving needs of the museum profession and changes in their communities, this MFA special initiative has four project categories for professional development:

-Digital Technology: for museum staff to fully explore, understand, adopt and optimize the use of digital technology in museums
-Diversity and Inclusion: for museum staff to develop cultural competency and support museum relevancy in their communities
-Evaluation: to expand museum staff’s capacity in conducting formative and summative evaluation of programs, practices and products that can help the museum yield indicators and measurable outcomes
-Organizational Management: for museum staff to learn best practices in organizational management, strategic thinking, innovation and managing change

Potential projects will address one of these four project categories and help strengthen the ability of an individual museum to better serve its public. Projects will utilize comprehensive strategies and frameworks to support professional development. Projects should cross-cut various departments and result in systemic change within the museum.

Indicators of Successful Projects:

Indicators (characteristics) of successful Museums Empowered projects are as follows:
-Institutional Impact: The project strengthens the ability of an individual museum to serve its public through professional development activities that cross-cut various departments to generate systemic change within the museum.
-In-depth Knowledge: The project design reflects a thorough understanding of current practice and knowledge about the subject matter.
-Project-based Design: The work plan consists of a set of logical, interrelated activities tied directly to addressing the key need or challenge identified in the application.
-Demonstrable Results: The project generates measurable results that tie directly to the need or challenge it was designed to address.

IMLS Agency-Level Goals:

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS provides leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.

U.S. museums and libraries are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural and natural heritage with rich, authentic content, libraries and museums provide learning experiences for everyone. In FY2018, each award under this program will support one of the following three goals of the IMLS strategic plan, Creating a Nation of Learners:

-IMLS places the learner at the center and supports engaging experiences in libraries and museums that prepare people to be full participants in their local communities and global society.
-IMLS promotes museums and libraries as strong community anchors that enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality.
-IMLS supports exemplary stewardship of museum and library collections and promotes the use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge and cultural heritage.

The goals focus on achieving positive public outcomes for communities and individuals; supporting the unique role of museums and libraries in preserving and providing access to collections and content; and promoting library, museum, and information service policies that ensure access to information for all Americans.

IMLS places importance on diversity and inclusion. This may be reflected in a project in a wide range of ways, including efforts to serve: individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds; persons with disabilities; persons with limited functional literacy or information skills; individuals having difficulty using a library or museum; underserved urban and rural communities; and children from families with incomes below the poverty level. This may also be reflected in efforts to recruit future professionals in the library or museum fields as well as strategies in building or enhancing access to collections and information.

Project Categories:

There are four project categories within this special initiative. Your project must align with one of them.

Digital Technology:

IMLS supports the work of museums in adopting and adapting the use of existing and emerging digital technology to transform audience engagement, collections care and management, communication and general operations. Recognizing the transformative and pervasive nature of digital technology, IMLS welcomes applications to develop training and professional development learning opportunities for museum staff to fully explore, understand, and optimize the use of digital technology in museums.

Projects may be introductory, intermediate or advanced in nature depending on the size and needs of the applicant institution. Projects should reference current research, incorporate best practices, and use models with proven outcomes.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
-Training programs for museum staff to become more effective and efficient users of digital technology
-Developing fellowships, internships, and mentoring programs to attract and retain a tech- savvy workforce and cross-train museum staff
-Developing strategies and enhancing staff capacity to use digital technology, such as social media, for audience engagement and community outreach
-Hosting workshops with experts, thought-leaders and practitioners in the digital technology field to help museum staff address a specific issue facing the museum
-Building staff capacity to enable optimal use and development of open source educational products, services and programs, such as open educational resources (OER), massive open online courses (MOOCs), apps and games
-Exploring and adopting new ways to expand digital access to collections by training staff in emerging technologies such as 3D objects, virtual reality, augmented reality, digital archiving or crowd-sourcing models
-Developing institutional digital strategies to leverage big data and provide the training and support for staff to sustain and maintain open data resources

Diversity and Inclusion:

IMLS supports the work of museums in engaging with communities and providing inclusive services to people of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds and to individuals with disabilities. Recognizing the changing demographics across the nation, IMLS welcomes applications for staff professional development and museum capacity building projects that increase cultural competency within a museum and support relevancy through projects that connect, engage, and strengthen the museum’s ties with diverse communities.

Projects may be introductory, intermediate or advanced in nature depending on the size and needs of the applicant institution. Projects should reference current research, incorporate best practices, and use models with proven outcomes.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
-Development and implementation of recruitment and retention programs (e.g., webinars, workshops, or outreach materials) designed to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce working with community or educational partners
-Building the capacity of museum staff to develop, support, and sustain inclusive fellowship, internship and mentoring programs to attract diverse emerging professionals
-Training for museum staff in effective engagement strategies to raise early awareness of and interest in museum careers with middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds.
-Enhancing the skills and ability of museum staff to develop and deliver inclusive programs and outreach activities to engage with diverse audiences
-Participating in immersive cultural competency opportunities and exchanges by actively working with local, state, national or global organizations that are advancing multi-cultural efforts
-Training in proactive and sustained community outreach and engagement strategies such as immersive experiences through community-based fellowships
-Hosting workshops with experts, thought-leaders and practitioners in the diversity and inclusion field to help museum staff address a specific issue facing the museum
-Developing and strengthening competencies among staff to revise and implement institutional plans such as a strategic plan, interpretive plan and/or collections plan to incorporate diversity and inclusion objectives

Evaluation:

IMLS supports the use of robust formative and summative evaluation of museum programs, practices and products to help museums best serve their intended audiences and demonstrate their impact to stakeholders. Recognizing the many challenges and resources needed to develop and sustain an evaluation program, IMLS welcomes applications that will help a museum expand its evaluation capacity by providing training and professional development opportunities in audience research and evaluation for museum staff.

Projects may use new tools, software, training, or consultants to develop a strong and integrated museum evaluation program. Evaluation activities should incorporate both quantitative and qualitative data, indicators and impact. Projects should reference current research, incorporate best practices, and use models with proven outcomes.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
-Implementing training programs for museum staff on evaluation tools, strategies and techniques customized to address a specific institutional or audience need
-Developing and strengthening competencies among staff in formative evaluation techniques that will help shape museum programs and exhibits
-Developing and strengthening competencies among staff in summative evaluation techniques that will help measure the impact of museum programs and exhibits
-Developing and strengthening competencies among staff to establish baseline data for a museum evaluation program through audience research, needs assessment, gap analysis and/or bench marking
-Building staff capacity to create a robust museum evaluation program by developing logic- models and frameworks to differentiate between output-focused and outcomes-based data
-Developing and strengthening competencies among staff to support the assessment and evaluation of community engagement museum programs and activities using approaches, models and/or partnerships from within the collective impact field
-Building staff capacity to access and use open source software, open data and online tools in evaluation
-Hosting workshops with experts in the evaluation field to help museum staff develop solutions to a specific issue of concern or challenge facing the museum
-Building staff capacity to develop an institution-wide evaluation framework that integrates impact, assessment and learning strategies

Organizational Management:

IMLS supports museums’ efforts to develop resilient organizations with the goal of long-term sustainability and relevancy. IMLS welcomes applications to develop training and professional development opportunities for museum staff to learn best practices in organizational management, strategic thinking, embracing innovation and managing change in order to foster continued growth, relevancy and vitality.

Projects may use replicable models within the museum field as well as look beyond the museum field for transferrable techniques and strategies to build the capacity of the museum and support its long- term sustainability. Projects should reference current research, incorporate best practices, and use models with proven outcomes.

Projects may include, but are not limited to, the following activities:
-Creating a more resilient workforce through training programs for museum staff on topics such as project management, strategic thinking, and managing change
-Creating a more innovative workforce through training programs for museum staff on topics such as design-thinking, human-centered design and rapid prototyping
-Supporting executive coaching opportunities in a museum context
-Fostering a business mindset among museum staff to assess, evaluate, and adopt current business practices in order to identify areas for improvement or to respond to new opportunities
-Building skills in data analysis using both institutionally generated and publicly available data to inform decision-making for program development and business planning
-Building staff capacity to develop a succession plan for key staff positions
-Holding workshops with experts and thought-leaders in the field of organizational
management to help museum staff develop solutions to a specific issue facing the museum
-Supporting the growth and development of museum staff in the process of revising a strategic plan supported with measurable outcomes and a continuous improvement plan

The following list includes some examples of generally allowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share (if applicable), under this announcement:
-Personnel salaries, wages, and fringe benefits
-Travel expenses for key project staff and consultants
-Materials, supplies, software, and equipment related directly to project activities
-Equipment to improve collections storage and exhibit environments
-Third-party costs
-Publication design and printing
-Staff and volunteer training
-Internships/fellowships
-Indirect or overhead costs

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180756

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$2,000,000

Number of Grants:

Anticipated Number of Awards: 28

Estimated Size of Grant:

Expected Amounts for Individual Awards: $5,000 - $25,000 (no cost-share required) and $25,001–$250,000 (at least 1:1 cost-share required)

Average amount of funding per award experienced in previous years: $71,428

Term of Contract:

Anticipated start dates for new awards are not earlier than October 1, 2018. Projects must begin on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2018.

The anticipated period of performance is October 2018 - November 2021. Project activities may be carried out for up to three years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an award under this Notice of Funding Opportunity, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:

1. You must be either a unit of State or local government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;

2. You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and

3. You must qualify as one of the following:

(a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.

1) What types of institutions are included in the term “museum”?

If they otherwise meet these requirements, “museums” include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.

2) What does it mean to be “using a professional staff”?

An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full- time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.

3) What does it mean to “exhibit the objects to the general public”?

An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution. An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis.

An institution which does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances. For more information, please see 2 C.F.R. § 3187.3.

(b) A public or private nonprofit agency which is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a) above may apply on behalf of the museum.

If my museum is located within a parent organization, can my museum apply on its own?

A museum located within a parent organization that is a State or local government or multipurpose nonprofit entity, such as a municipality, university, historical society, foundation, or cultural center, may apply on its own behalf if the museum:
-Is able to independently fulfill all the eligibility requirements listed in the above three criteria;
-Functions as a discrete unit within the parent organization;
-Has its own fully segregated and itemized operating budget; and
-Has the authority to make the application on its own.

When any of the last three conditions cannot be met, a museum may only apply through its parent organization.

Is a nonprofit organization eligible if it is affiliated with a museum?

IMLS may determine that a nonprofit organization that is affiliated with a museum is eligible for this program where the organization can demonstrate that it has the ability to administer the project and can ensure compliance with the terms of this Notice of Funding Opportunity and the applicable law, including the IMLS Assurances and Certifications. The applicant organization must submit an agreement from the museum that details the activities that the applicant and museum will perform and binds the museum to the statements and assurances made in the grant application.

Native American tribal organizations may apply if they otherwise meet the above eligibility requirements.

The following list includes some examples of unallowable costs, both for IMLS funds and for cost share (if applicable), under this announcement:
-General fundraising costs, such as development office staff or other staff time devoted to general fundraising
-Contributions to endowments
-General operating support
-Acquisition of collections (see 2 C.F.R. §3187.15(b))
-General advertising or public relations costs designed solely for promotional activities other
than those related to the specific project
-Construction or renovation of facilities (generally, any activity involving the construction
trades is not an allowable cost)
-Social activities, ceremonies, receptions, or entertainment
-Research projects (see 2 C.F.R. § 200.87)
-Pre-award costs

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants are invited to view two pre-recorded webinars:

IMLS recommends that you view the FY18 Choosing a Funding Opportunity presentation before participating in a program-specific webinar.

FY18 Choosing a Funding Opportunity:
https://www.imls.gov/news-events/events/imls-office-museum-services-choosing-funding-opportunity-fy2018

The FY18 IMLS Forms webinar provides detailed tips on completing required forms for all grant programs.

FY18 IMLS Forms:
https://www.imls.gov/news-events/events/imls-office-museum-services-fy2018-imls-forms

A live FY18 Museums Empowered webinar was held Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST. More information and recordings may be found here:
https://www.imls.gov/news-events/events/imls-fy2018-museums-empowered-applicant-webinar

Pre-Application Information:

Before submitting an application, your organization must have a current and active D-U-N-S number (a unique entity identifier), System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration, and Grants.gov registration. Check your materials and registrations well in advance of the application deadline to ensure that they are accurate, current, and active.

You must register with Grants.gov prior to submitting your application package. The multi-step registration process generally cannot be completed in a single day. If you are not already registered, you should allow at least two weeks to complete this one-time process. Do not wait until the day of the application deadline to register.

Submit the application through Grants.gov by 11:59 PM U.S. Eastern Time on March 1, 2018.

The anticipated date of notification is September 2018 (subject to the availability of funds and IMLS discretion).

View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=ME-FY18

Contact Information:

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

Mark Isaksen, Senior Program Officer
202-653-4667
misaksen@imls.gov

Jill Connors-Joyner Museum Program Specialist
202-653-4791
jconnors-joyner@imls.gov

CFDA Number:

45.301

Funding or Pin Number:

ME-FY18

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: 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)