Preservation Assistance Grants help small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections. These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials.
Applicants must draw on the knowledge of consultants whose preservation skills and experience are related to the types of collections and the nature of the activities that are the focus of their projects. Within the conservation field, for example, conservators usually specialize in the care of specific types of collections, such as objects, paper, or paintings. Applicants should therefore choose a conservator whose specialty is appropriate for the nature of their collections. Similarly, when assessing the preservation needs of archival holdings, applicants must seek a consultant specifically knowledgeable about archives and preservation. Because the organization and the preservation of archival collections must be approached in tandem, an archival consultant should also provide advice about the management and processing needs of such holdings as part of a preservation assessment that includes long-term plans for the arrangement and description of archival collections.
The program encourages applications from small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant. The program also encourages applications from presidentially designated institutions (Hispanic-serving institutions, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Tribal Colleges and Universities), and from Native American tribes with significant humanities collections.