Small Museum Grants You Should Know About

Small Museum Grants You Should Know About
small museum grants

Small Museum Grants You Should Know About

One of the biggest questions for smaller museums is how to acquire funding for their institutions. Since most museums in the United States are smaller, independently run, and operated by volunteers, this makes the task of providing for small museums all the more pressing.   

Unlike larger, well known museums who receive funding from large donors due to their lofty reputations, smaller museums need to work for every penny they earn. While the task may seem daunting, the funding is out there. Out of the many ways to obtain funding, this article is going to focus on the small museum grants that every museum should know about. 

Small Museum Grants Databases

Before we get into our list of small museum grants you should know about, there are some excellent databases out there that will cull together thousands of grants that may better suit your profile. Among the many resources out there, the Foundation Center has established itself as one of the leading philanthropy organizations dedicated to the expansion of educational resources at the community level.

Founded in 1956, the Foundation Center has created and maintained one of the most thorough online databases for grant and funding resources. Their Foundation Directory Online culls millions of grants into one database. The database is updated weekly, utilizes automation technology to process and store data, and provides several search filters in their simple interface, making it easy for grantees to find what they’re looking for. 

Another excellent grant resource comes from Formed in 2002, the organization has worked to simplify the federal grant process by allowing federal agencies to post their funding opportunities into one resource and allow grantees to access them. The mobile app integration of the database makes it one of the most appealing and convenient search engines to utilize. 

Our Top Small Museum Grants and Grant Organizations


  • National Endowment for the Humanities: One of the largest donors for the humanities in the United States, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency that started in 1965. The NEH is committed to the preservation, strengthening, and proliferation of the arts, history, and humanities in the sphere of education and institutions like small museums. An independent, external reviewer is responsible for assessing and awarding their grants.



  • The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is focused on the transformation of individuals and communities through their funding of museums and libraries. Along with grantwork, the organization is dedicated to enriching research, agency, and policy developments that help small museums. With its micro-focus on individual communities, the IMLS makes an excellent choice for any small museum looking to bolster their funding. 



  • Knight Foundation: The Knight Foundation supports, funds, and advances communities in three ways: through journalism, community programs, and the arts. Created in the memory of brothers John S. and James L. Knight, the foundation’s goal is to foster their communities in order to provide for a healthy and engaged democracy. The Foundation has invested more than 210$ million in art conservation of several cities throughout the United States with the intent to energize communities through artistic expression. They offer thousands of grants that many small museums could be eligible for. 



  • Henry Luce Foundation: Since its establishment in 1963, the Henry Luce Foundation has provided grants to more than 5,000 organizations with over 1$ billion in support. The foundation looks to knowledge-providers who are invested in individuals and the communities that they find themselves in. They’ve provided grants and scholarships to museums, higher education applicants, religious institutions, and policy makers, among others. 



  • Costume Society of America: Don’t let the name fool you; the Costume Society of America is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity awareness, fashion history, and partnerships with educational institutions and museums. The group is concerned with social, historical, and political undertones associated with clothing and historical/artistic movements. Several small museums throughout the country associated with historical periods as well as art could benefit from the many grants the organization has provided since their conception in 1973.


This list is a good start to some of the top small museum grants you should know about. There are, of course, too many to mention in one article, but many of these organizations have partnerships with other grants and resources that can be accessed through their websites. 

Once you find and receive your perfect grant, take the next step and integrate state-of-the-art ticketing software that will help keep visitors returning to your museum. ACME’s cloud-based servers and thorough data-retention technology will help you run your museum, create strategies, and access vital information with less hassle and more joy. Try the ACME demo today.

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