Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects
FY 2021 Grant Announcement: (Initial)
The deadline for this opportunity has passed. These guidelines may be used for reference, but should NOT be used to prepare an application.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of the National Archives supports projects that promote access to America's historical records to encourage understanding of our democracy, history, and culture.
The following grant application information is for Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects.
Funding Opportunity Number: ARCHIVAL-202010
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 89.003
- Draft Deadline (optional): August 10, 2020
- Final Deadline: October 8, 2020
NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2021
Grant Program Description
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission seeks projects that will significantly improve online public discovery and use of historical records collections. The Commission is especially interested in collections of America’s early legal records, such as the records of colonial, territorial, county, and early statehood and tribal proceedings that document the evolution of the nation’s legal history. Additionally the Commission is interested in projects to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. We encourage applications that use collections to examine the ideals behind the founding of the United States and the continual interpretation and debate over those ideals these past 250 years. We welcome projects that engage the public, expand civic education, and promote understanding of the nation's history, democracy, and culture from the founding era to the present day.
Projects may preserve and process historical records to:
- Convert existing description for online access
- Create new online Finding Aids to collections
- Digitize historical records collections and make them freely available online
All types of historical records are eligible, including documents, photographs, born-digital records, and analog audio and moving images.
The successful application will demonstrate the value of the contents of the collection, will outline a project that addresses best practices for the work and is appropriately staffed, will propose a budget that accomplishes the project in a cost-effective manner, and will outline activities that bring researchers to the collections included in the project as well as the rest of the repository's holdings.
For a comprehensive list of Commission limitations on funding, please see: What we do and do not fund . Applications that consist entirely of ineligible activities will not be considered.
A grant is for one or two years and for up to $150,000. The Commission expects to make up to 10 grants in this category for a total of up to $1,000,000.
The Commission requires that grant recipients acknowledge NHPRC grant assistance in all publicity, publications, and other products that result from its support.
- Nonprofit organizations or institutions
- Colleges, universities, and other academic institutions
- State or local government agencies
- Federally-acknowledged or state-recognized Native American tribes or groups
Projects must include at least one of the eligible activities described for this program. Applications must include all required elements (SF 424, Narrative, NHPRC Budget Form, and Supplemental Materials.) Applications that do not meet either of those criteria will not be considered.
In order to ensure eligibility, applicants should first review the rules and regulations governing NHPRC grants under the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.
The total costs of a project are shared between the NHPRC and the applicant organization.
Cost sharing is required. The applicant's financial contribution may include both direct and indirect expenses, in-kind contributions, non-Federal third-party contributions, and any income earned directly by the project. NHPRC grant recipients are not permitted to use grant funds for indirect costs (as indicated in 2 CFR 2600.101). Indirect costs must be listed under the applicant's cost sharing contribution.
The Commission provides no more than 75 per cent of total project costs in the Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects category. For example, a request of $75,000 in NHPRC grant funds means the applicant must provide at least $25,000 in cost share.
Applicant organizations must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting an application, maintain SAM registration throughout the application and award process, and include a valid DUNS number in their application. Details on SAM registration and requesting a DUNS number can be found at the System for Award Management website at https://sam.gov. Please refer to the User Guides section and the Grants Registrations PDF.
At any time, applicants are encouraged to contact the Director for Technology Initiatives, Nancy Melley (email@example.com, 202-357-5452) at the NHPRC who may:
• Advise the applicant about the review process;
• Answer questions about what activities are eligible for support;
• Supply samples of successful applications;
• Read and comment on a preliminary draft.
You must use Grants.gov to submit your Proposal. All information necessary to apply is included in this announcement, the Application Instructions, and the forms on Grants.gov. If you need the information supplied in an alternative format, please call the NHPRC at 202-357-5010.
In the event that Grants.gov is experiencing technical difficulties that prevent submission, applicants must first attempt to resolve the issue with the Grants.gov Contact Center (800-518-4726). If Grants.gov cannot solve the problem, applicants must contact Jeff de la Concepcion (202-357-5022) no later than 3:00 Eastern Time on the day of the deadline with their valid Grants.gov Contact Center trouble-ticket number. Applicants that fail to meet deadlines for reasons other than those noted will not be considered for funding.
Preparing Your Application
Using the Application Instructions, fill out:
- the Standard Form 424,
- the Standard Form 424B,
- and the NHPRC Budget Form.
You will also prepare a Project Narrative, a Project Summary, and Supplementary Materials to attach to your Application Package
The Project Narrative is a description of the proposal. It should be no more than 20 double-spaced pages in 12-pt type formatted for 8.5 x 11 inch paper with standard margins and page numbers.
Please organize your narrative in these sections:
- Overview: Begin with a short description of the project's purpose and goals. Describe the collections and show how the records broaden public understanding of our democracy, history, and culture. Characterize the project's intended audience.
- Archives Program Description: Briefly summarize your organization's history, mission, and goals with an emphasis on its archival programs. Describe the nature and scope of your holdings and your access policies for public use of your holdings, including days and hours of operation. Briefly discuss the repository's environmental and security controls.
- Description of Collections: Describe the materials that will be made accessible. This should include the quantity in cubic or linear feet for analog materials, in files and bytes for born-digital materials, and an estimate of the number of hours for audio and moving image materials. Detail the topical matters, formats, dates, and their historical significance. Provide evidence of the current research demand and explain how you expect this project to change usage levels.
- Archival Methodologies: Describe your processing and digitization methodologies. Provide descriptions of your equipment and resources, metadata standards, and professional scanning practices. Specify cost estimates for digitized items. Detail the specific methods used for any preservation reformatting of audio or moving image materials. Outline your institution's long-term digital preservation plan (or provide a link to it online).
- Project Products: Describe and quantify the products you plan to produce for the completed project. This includes collections, catalog records, finding aids, digitized items, electronic files, and related materials. This also includes new tools and methods to be developed to enhance access to archival materials.
- Project Publicity: Describe how you will publicize the project and how you will share any new tools and methods with other institutions to encourage replication and adoption.
- Plan of Work: Provide evidence of planning and a realistic scope of work for the project. Describe each stage of the work plan and provide a time chart identifying the personnel required for each activity (in the supplemental materials).
- Staff Qualifications: Provide a narrative explanation of the qualifications of the staff who will contribute to the success of this project. Demonstrate that the project staff has the skills, educational background, and experience appropriate to the project. Explain the roles of all staff named in the project budget, both for those already on staff and for those to be hired. List the Names, Titles, Institutions, Phone Numbers, and E-Mail Addresses of the Project Director and Key Personnel. Please ensure that the project director listed on this summary is the same person listed in Section 8 (f), of the SF 424. If your institution requires a different contact person on the SF 424, please explain in one sentence. In the supplementary materials, provide a résumé of not more than two pages per person for all staff named in the project budget. For those staff or consultants to be hired for the project, provide position descriptions or call for consultants
- Performance Objectives: List six to eight quantifiable performance objectives that will allow you and the Commission to evaluate the project as you submit interim and final reports. Performance objectives might include the number or volume of collections processed or described, the number of items digitized, or types of new procedures put in place to expedite access to collections. These should allow you and the Commission staff to evaluate your progress as you submit interim and final reports.
Prepare up to 20 pages of Supplementary Materials to your Narrative, including:
- Résumés of all named staff members (use only institutional addresses and phone numbers. No more than two pages per staff member (required)
- Position descriptions for staff to be hired with grant funds
- Detailed work plan charts that supplement the Narrative
- Institution's preservation plan for digital materials
- Samples from existing finding aid(s) or indexes for selected materials (if applicable)
- Letters of support
- Statements of commitment to the project by partners (if applicable)
If these materials are available on a web site, please provide the URL(s). Reviewers appreciate application with fewer supplemental pages.
You must submit a budget on the NHPRC Budget Form available on the Application Instructions page. You may include with your application a narrative budget supplement for budget categories that require further detail. Provide specific budget figures, rounding to the nearest dollar.
Submission Dates and Times
Applicants are encouraged to submit drafts, but drafts are not required. The drafts should be sent by email to the Director for Technology Initiatives, Nancy Melley (firstname.lastname@example.org) and should include a narrative and budget.
- Draft (optional) Deadline: August 10, 2020
- Final Deadline: Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time October 8, 2020.
NHPRC support begins no earlier than July 1, 2021.
The NHPRC staff will acknowledge receipt of the application soon after we receive it. The following evaluation criteria and weights will be used by NHPRC staff and other reviewers to form recommendations:
- The potential of the historical records collections to broaden understanding of our democracy, history, and culture. (30 percent)
- Appropriateness of the project's strategies and techniques for completing activities that will result in better preserved materials with enhanced public access. (30 percent)
- The ability to complete the project's objectives based on the qualifications of the staff, the inclusion of appropriate work plans including professional development and citizen engagement, and the reasonableness of the budget (including cost share). (25 percent)
- Effectiveness of the dissemination plans for the project's results. (15 percent)
Application Review Process
After submitting a proposal, do not discuss the pending application to the NHPRC with any Commission member. Commission members must ensure fair and equitable treatment of all applications and do not discuss proposals with individual applicants.
Your proposal will be reviewed by:
- Peer Reviewers
We will ask 7 to 10 external peer reviewers to evaluate the proposal.
- Commission Staff
Approximately 2 months before the Commission meeting, we will send to the Project Director anonymous copies of reviewers' comments along with specific questions from the Commission staff. Applicants have an opportunity to answer these questions and comments.
- The Commission
After reviewing proposals and reviewers' comments, the Commission members deliberate and make funding recommendations to the Archivist of the United States, who has final statutory authority and selects award recipients. Throughout this process, all members of the Commission and its staff follow conflict-of-interest rules to assure fair and equal treatment of every application.
Award Administration Information
Grants are contingent upon available appropriated funds. In some cases, the Commission will adjust grant amounts depending upon the number of recommended proposals and total budget. The Commission may recommend that the Archivist approve the proposal and extend an offer of a grant with applicable terms and conditions, or it may recommend rejection of the proposal.
Grant applicants will be notified within two weeks after the Archivist's decision.
Successful applicants will receive an informal offer of award outlining the steps that must be accomplished to qualify for funding. Those steps include verification of their acceptance of general terms and conditions, completion of a survey on their Financial Capability and Accounting Systems, and finalization of performance objectives for their project.
For awards that meet or exceed the Federal government's simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150,000), NHPRC staff will first review and consider any information about the applicant that appears in the designated integrity and performance system. This information is accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS) (see 41 U.S.C. 2313). After this review, NHPRC staff will follow the procedures in 2 CFR 200, subpart F, Appendix I, part e.3.
Once these are received, reviewed and accepted, the NHPRC will issue an official award notice.
In order to ensure that you can manage a grant, applicants should review the Federal grant administration rules and regulations governing grants from the NHPRC listed in the Administering an NHPRC Grant section.
In most cases, award recipients will report on their performance in narrative reports every six months and submit financial reports once a year.