Small Museum Grants Program

Grant Program Goals

The Department of Arkansas Heritage has set these goals for Small Museum Grants:

  • Promote education, awareness and enjoyment of Arkansas history
  • Increase ability of community-based small museums/organization to research, preserve, present and conserve Arkansas history

Who May Apply

The following are the types of museums/organization that are eligible to apply:

  • History Museums
  • Historical Societies
  • Historic Houses and Sites
  • Military Museums

Evaluation Criteria

The Small Museum Grant Program is funded by the one-eighth cent conservation tax which is a limited source. Not every applicant can be funded. The maximum grant award is $2,500. All, part, or none of the applicant’s request may be awarded. 

  • The museum must have an annual operating budget of $250,000 or less.
  • The museum must have a staff of at least one person qualified with museum training, knowledge and experience.
  • Staff may be paid or volunteer. The museum staff must devote time primarily to the care of the museum and its collections.
  • The museum must be open to the public at least 90 days per year.
  • Located in Arkansas.
  • Tax exempt status (501(c)(3)) with the IRS or be part of a nonprofit organization.
  • May receive no state or federal funds for operating costs.
  • Strong educational component to the museum’s/organization’s programming. Educational programming should be designed to benefit the general public.
  • Have a formally stated and board approved mission statement and bylaws.
  • Use and interpret objects and/or a site for the public presentation of regularly scheduled programs and exhibits.
  • Have a formal and appropriate program of documentation, care, and use of the collections and/or objects.
  • Must carry out the above functions primarily at a physical facility or site.
  • Recipient must have been operational and open to the public for at least two years.
  • Full-time director to whom authority is delegated for day-to-day operations.

Small Museums Grants can be used to underwrite an eligible museum’s general operating expenses. The following expenses are eligible for inclusion within the grant application:

  • Conservation materials
  • Building and grounds maintenance
  • Operating costs for utilities and HVAC
  • Equipment purchase ($1,000 limit)
  • Accessioning of artifact collections
  • Research
  • Website design and maintenance
  • Exhibits
  • Interpretation (brochures, educational programming and exhibits)
  • Educational programs for K – 12 grade students or adults
  • Printing, publicity and marketing
  • Postage and telephone
  • Travel and transportation
    1. In-state travel for research and training
    2. Lodging for museum staff only
    3. Transportation costs required for research and training must be itemized, stated in the form of roundtrip miles, and not exceed the state government rate per round trip mile
    4. Meals for paid and non-paid museum staff
  • Staff Training
    1. Museum practices and standards
    2. Archival training
    3. Interpretive training
    4. Collections management

Small Museum Grants may not be used to fund the following:

  • Acquisitions of objects for the collections
  • Capital improvement projects
  • Salaries
  • Projects that serve a religious purpose or promote religious principals
  • Exhibitions or public programs that are not available to the general public or taking place outside of the state of Arkansas
  • Prizes and awards
  • Expenses for entertainment
  • Any state or federal funded museums
  • Food for special or continuing programs



DEADLINE: April 17, 2020

If you have previously created an online account with Department of Arkansas Heritage for a grant through one of the resource divisions (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program/AHPP or Arkansas Arts Council/AAC or Arkansas State Archives/ASA), do NOT create a new one.

If you have never applied for an online account with any Department of Arkansas Heritage program, click on “Create New Account.” To create a new account, answer the questions with the fields marked with an (*).

The following are NOT needed to apply for a Small Museums Grant:
a. EIN/Tax ID #
b. DUNS Number
c. Organization’s Longitude
d .Organization’s Latitude

Once you have completed the LOGON process, you will enter the ACCESS CODE: SMG

After you enter the Access Code, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue APPLY button.

Provide a brief history of the museum or historical society, include information as to the date of establishment, the organization’s mission statement, the era(s) of Arkansas history that is the focal point of the museum or historical society, and a brief overview of the contents of exhibits, collections, interpretation, and programming.

  • 1. Description of proposed project. (Provide specifics as to what is to be accomplished during the grant period.)
  • 2.Planning (Tell us how the project was planned. Be specific about how humanities scholars/museum experts were involved in the planning.)
  • 3.List the humanities scholar(s)/museum expert(s) and their field, and briefly explain what they will do. (These individuals have expertise through formal education and through research, writing, and teaching in the humanities, knowledge of archival practices, museum collections management, museum operations. A humanities scholar is recognized by fellow scholars as authorities in the humanities and/or museum fields.)
  • 4.Identify the audience to be served by this project and explain how they will benefit. (Include an estimate of the number of people to be served if applicable.)
  • 5.Describe the plan for publicity and/or distribution (If applicable)
  • 6.Describe the evaluation plan for assessing how well the project achieved its objectives. (Include a measurable form of assessment to determine the outcome of the success of the project.) Note: These are not goals, but measurable objectives.
  • 7.List the name and affiliation of each member of the evaluation committee. (It is advisable to have a diverse number of individuals to evaluate the project. Evaluation committee members may include the project director, humanities scholar, museum patrons, audience members, etc.)
  • 8.Budget There are no cost-share requirements. Provide an itemized list of expenditures which includes each item, a unit cost, quantity, and a total amount. Shipping and handling and sales tax may be included in the itemized list of expenditures. Please list any external funds that make up cost-share for the project. List all individuals to receive honoraria by name, amount to be received and a total amount. All those to receive travel reimbursement should be listed individually, provide the “from and to” locations, a unit cost per mile, and a total amount. Itemize all supplies and materials, printing and duplicating, postage and telephone. Include the item, a unit cost, quantity, and a total amount. Include equipment that may be purchased or rented and the cost involved. Include a justification for the rental or the purchase of equipment, and provide a statement as to how the equipment will be used following the completion of the project. Itemize all advertising including the advertising venue, cost, and number of runs. Provide a total amount for each budgetary item and a cumulative total.
  • 9.Provide organization’s mission statement, bylaws and evidence of tax exempt status. (e.g. copy of IRS tax exemption determination letter)
  • 10.Download and Attach signed Certification of Use of Funds and Supplemental Grant Information (see downloads below).

  • Small Museum Grants Program Certificate of Funds Small Museum Grants Program Certificate of Funds (97 KB)

    Small Museum Grants Program Supplemental Information Small Museum Grants Program Supplemental Information (97 KB)

    Small Museums Grant - Line Item Budget Small Museums Grant - Line Item Budget (44 KB)


Note: Click on the linked heading text to expand or collapse accordion panels.


Small Museum Grant applications will be reviewed and evaluated against the goals, evaluation criteria and eligible activities of the Small Museum Grant Program by a panel of three or more individuals to be appointed by the Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The panel will include the State Historian or his/her designee. This panel will make the funding decisions.


Watch the Small Museums Grant Video
Download the Powerpoint used in the video


Please contact Grants Manager Debra Fithen with any quesitions.