National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Application FAQs

Do you have any general advice for a repository or cultural institution seeking grant support?

I would like to submit a draft by the deadline in the grant announcement. What materials should I include in my draft?

  • In order for NHPRC program staff to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of your project, we need to see a project budget and a complete narrative containing the project work plan. The project summary, resumes, and other supplementary materials are generally not needed at this early stage.

When will we hear whether or not we received a grant?

  • The Commission acts on grant awards in May and November. The exact dates vary, but we post a notice before each meeting. All applicants will be notified within two weeks following the Archivist's final decision.

I will be applying for a grant during the coming year. Will you send me several examples of funded proposals to give me an idea of what a good proposal looks like?

  • The Commission staff will be glad to provide you with an example of a successful application to help you develop your own proposal. Due to staffing and budget limitations, however, we cannot provide more than one sample application to any potential applicant. Please provide as much information about your project as possible so that we can send a sample which closely fits what you plan to do.

We don't have enough money to pay for half of the cost of our project, as the Commission recommends. How can we increase our cost-sharing contribution?

  • Not all grants require a 50/50 match. Each Grant Opportunity announcement will explain the financial requirements for that opportunity. An applicant's cost-sharing contribution can be made up of a number of items, including some indirect costs. In addition to the salaries and benefits of current employees who will be working on the project, the time contributed by volunteers can be included in the project budget. Contact the Commission staff for additional assistance with budget questions.

I'm not sure that I have included all of the required forms in my application. How many are there supposed to be?

  • You must use, a system that delivers all of the forms you will need. Complete these forms according to the instructions.

I requested a copy of the Commission's guidelines a few years ago, but I have waited until now to apply. Are these guidelines still usable?

  • No. The Commission no longer uses a printed Guidelines booklet. Instead, all information needed to apply for a particular grant is found in the Grant Opportunity announcement, and all of the necessary forms are included in the application packet.

My organization has already started a project and needs additional funds to include additional materials in the project. Can we apply for a grant?

  • Yes. Review the specific Grant Opportunity announcements to make sure that the Commission's priorities fit with your project's needs. Since the Commission's broad mission is making available historically-valuable materials, you will need to consider whether the general public will benefit from the results of your project. Some worthwhile projects primarily serve institutional needs more than the general public, and you may need to explore other funding opportunities. However, you will not be reimbursed for project costs except those incurred during the grant period, nor can you use expenses incurred outside the grant period as cost sharing.

We are digitizing our records. Can you help fund this project?

  • Perhaps. The Commission strives to fund proposals that use the best practices of the field in order to preserve and make accessible historically-valuable records. For long-term preservation, digitizing of audio, video, and motion picture film is currently accepted as best practice. The Commission views the digitization of paper records, photographic materials, and microfilm primarily as a means to enhance access to historical records. Our Grant Opportunity announcements will clarify what types of digitization projects the Commission wishes to support. If you have any questions about which grant programs may support the digitization of records, please contact the Commission staff. Please note that Electronic Records grants are for the support of archival programs that preserve digital records, but are not for digitization.

Can I receive a grant to research and publish a book?

  • The Commission supports only the publication of collections of historical documents and records. See the Publishing Historical Records Grant Opportunity announcement for more details. Projects to research and publish scholarly or popular historical works and family or local histories are not eligible for NHPRC support.

Must I submit my application to the Historical Records Advisory Board in my state?

  • No. In certain cases your State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) will receive from the NHPRC copies of applications for its review, comments, and recommendations. Unless your proposed project is a Publications project, we encourage you to contact your SHRAB as you prepare your grant application. The SHRAB may give you helpful advice. Some SHRABs, given enough time, will review your application before you apply.

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