National Historical Publications & Records Commission


Use the information below as a general guide to the kinds of projects that we fund and do not fund.

What We Fund


The Commission funds projects that deal with the following kinds of historical source material:


  • records of state, county, municipal, tribal, or other non-Federal units of government
  • manuscripts, personal and family papers, or organizational and business archives
  • collections of photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, electronic records, and/or such visual materials as unpublished architectural, cartographic, and engineering drawings
  • conducting oral histories as a component of a historical records collection. 


The Commission funds projects that focus on the following activities authorized in the NHPRC statute:


  • collecting, describing, preserving, compiling, digitizing, and publishing records collections significant to the history of the United States
  • implementing solutions to the challenges of preserving electronic records with permanent historical value
  • conducting institutes, trainings, and related educational that build capacity and support the work of archivists, documentary editors, and related practitioners
  • disseminating information about documentary sources through guides, directories, and other technical publications
  • documentary editing and publishing
  • archival preservation and processing of records for broad public access
  • developing or updating descriptive systems
  • creating and developing archival and records management programs
  • conducting oral histories related to Native Americans
  • and promoting the use of records by teachers, students, and the public.


What We Do Not Fund


The Commission does NOT fund projects to:


  • construct, renovate, furnish, or purchase a building or land
  • purchase manuscripts or other historical records
  • exhibit or conserve archaeological artifacts, museum objects, or works of art
  • undertake historical research apart from the editing of documentary publications
  • catalog, acquire, or preserve books, periodicals, or other library materials
  • acquire, preserve, or describe art objects, sheet music, or other works primarily of value as works of art or entertainment
  • undertake a documentary editing project to publish the papers of someone who has been deceased for fewer than ten years
  • undertake an archival project centered on the papers of an appointed or elected public official who remains in major office, or is politically active, or the majority of whose papers have not yet been accessioned in a repository
  • undertake an arrangement, description, or preservation project in which the pertinent documents are privately owned or deposited in an institution subject to withdrawal upon demand for reasons other than requirements of law
  • undertake arrangement, description, or preservation projects involving Federal government records that are (a) in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), or (b) in the custody of some other Federal agency, or (c) have been deposited in a non-Federal institution without an agreement authorized by NARA. Many Federally funded activities not undertaken by the government itself produce documents that may in law be considered Federal records, including records produced under Federal contracts or grants. If your project deals with Federal records, you should talk further with the NHPRC staff.

Funding Restrictions


As part of its funding restrictions, the Commission has deemed ineligible those projects in which:

  • a major portion of the processed documents will be kept closed to researchers for more than five years,
  • documents are not accessible to all qualified users on equal terms,
  • it is the repository's policy to deny public access, or
  • a repository charges fees for making available the materials in its holdings. However, reasonable fees may be charged for copying material or providing special services or facilities not provided to all researchers.


Applicants are referred to this joint statement by the American Library Association and the Society of American Archivists which expresses the Commission's views on access to historical records.