Conservation Assessment Program

To support the efforts of museums to conserve the nation's historic, scientific, and cultural heritage.

The Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Heritage Preservation, Inc.

Examples of Funded Projects

CAP is appropriate for small to medium-sized museums.

All types of museums, including historic houses, botanical gardens, anthropology museums, ethnic museums, and zoos are eligible to participate in CAP.

Agency - Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of Federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute serves as a leader in providing services to enhance learning, sustain cultural heritage and increase civic participation.

Program Accomplishments

In FY 08, 101 museums participated in the program.

Uses and Use Restrictions

CAP funds an overall assessment of the conditions of a museum's environment and collections to identify conservation needs and priorities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A museum located in the 50 states of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau, or the District of Columbia may apply for a grant under this Act.

A public or private nonprofit organization, such as a municipality, college, or university which is responsible for the operation of a museum, if necessary, may apply on behalf of the museum.

A museum operated by a department or agency of the Federal government is not eligible to apply.

Under the IMLS definition, a museum is a public or private nonprofit institution which is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational or aesthetic purposes and which, using a professional staff: (1) Owns or uses tangible objects, whether animate or inanimate; (2) cares for these objects; and (3) exhibits them to the general public on a regular basis.

A museum must have at least one staff member, paid or unpaid, who devotes his or her time primarily to the acquisition, care or exhibition of objects.

The definition makes clear that the term "museum" includes aquariums and zoological parks; botanical gardens and arboretums; nature centers; art, history, (including historic buildings and sites), natural history, children's, general and specialized museums, science and technology centers and planetariums.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Public and private nonprofit museums benefit.


Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations also applies.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

The standard application forms as furnished by Heritage Preservation, Inc.

must be used for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

To participate in CAP, a museum must contact Heritage Preservation, Inc., 1012 14th Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. Telephone: (202) 233-0800. Fax: (202) 233-0807.

Award Procedures

Proposals for participation are reviewed by Heritage Preservation, Inc.


December 1.


Museum and Library Services Act, codified at 20 U.S.C. Section 9101 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Five months.


Appeals may be made in writing to the director of Heritage Preservation, Inc.


Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

45 CFR 1180. CAP is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. CAP museums share a percentage of the cost of the assessment.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance


Post Assistance Requirements


Participants submit a final report to Heritage Preservation, Inc.


Audits not required for application.


Grant and contract recipients will be required to maintain standard financial statements.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $807,000; FY 08 $793,000; and FY 09 est $814,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In FY 08, 101 museums participated in the program.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

See the IMLS Web site at for the latest program data.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1800 M Street, N.W., Ninth Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Contact: Christine Henry, Telephone: (202) 653-4674, E-mail:

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

To participate in CAP, a museum must contact Heritage Preservation, Inc., 1012 14th Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. Telephone: (202) 233-0800. Fax: (202) 233-0807.

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