Museums Empowered

The goal of the Museums for America (MFA) grant program is to support projects that strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public.

Museums Empowered:
Professional Development Opportunities for Museum Staff is a special MFA initiative with the goal of strengthening the ability


of an individual museum to serve its public through professional development activities that cross-cut various departments to generate systemic change within the museum.

As centers of innovation and discovery, as well as catalysts of community revitalization, museums are at the forefront of change in our communities.

Like any other institution, museums need to remain dynamic to respond to fast-evolving technological advances and changing demographics.

Museums also need to generate and share outcomes-based data and demonstrate results of their community impact efforts.

In addition, they need to develop sustainable organizational structures and strategies for continued growth and vitality.

Professional development is critical for museums to deliver on these areas of need.

IMLS encourages applicants to invest in the professional development of museum staff, leadership, and volunteers to enhance their skills and ensure the highest standards in all aspects of museum operations.

This includes, but is not limited to, creating opportunities to encourage a more inclusive and diverse museum professional and volunteer workforce, and building the skills of museum staff at all levels with emphasis on the development of the next generation of museum professionals.

To support and empower museums of all sizes and disciplines in responding to the evolving needs of the museum profession and changes in their communities, this MFA special initiative has four project categories for professional development:
• Digital Technology:
for museum staff to fully explore, understand, adopt, and optimize the use of digital technology in museums • Diversity and Inclusion:
for museum staff to develop cultural competency and support museum relevancy in their communities • Evaluation:
to expand museum staff’s capacity in conducting formative and summative evaluation of programs, practices, and products that can help the museum yield indicators and measurable outcomes • Organizational Management:
for museum staff to learn best practices in organizational management, strategic thinking, innovation, and managing change Potential projects will address one of these four project categories and help strengthen the ability of an individual museum to better serve its public.

Projects will utilize comprehensive strategies and frameworks to support professional development.

Projects should cross-cut various departments and result in systemic change within the museum.

Related Programs

Museums for America

Institute of Museum and Library Services

Agency: Institute of Museum and Library Services

Office: Institute of Museum and Library Services

Estimated Funding: $2,000,000

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Additional Information of Eligibility:
To be eligible for an award under this Notice of Funding Opportunity, you must be an organization that meets all three of the following criteria:1.

You must be either a unit of State, local, or tribal government or be a private, nonprofit organization that has tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code;2.

You must be located in one of the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau; and3.

You must qualify as one of the following:(a) A museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational, cultural heritage, or aesthetic purposes; owns or uses tangible objects, either animate or inanimate; cares for these objects; and exhibits these objects to the general public on a regular basis through facilities that it owns or operates.1) What types of institutions are included in the term “museum”? If they otherwise meet these requirements, “museums” include, but are not limited to, aquariums, arboretums, art museums, botanical gardens, children’s/youth museums, general museums (those having two or more significant disciplines), historic houses/sites, history museums, natural history/anthropology museums, nature centers, planetariums, science/technology centers, specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject), and zoological parks.2) What does it mean to be “using a professional staff”? An institution uses a professional staff if it employs at least one staff member, or the full-time equivalent, whether paid or unpaid, primarily engaged in the acquisition, care, or exhibition to the public of objects owned or used by the institution.3) What does it mean to “exhibit the objects to the general public”? An institution exhibits objects to the general public if such exhibition is a primary purpose of the institution.

An institution that exhibits objects to the general public for at least 120 days a year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis.

An institution which does not have the exhibition of objects as a primary purpose and/or does not exhibit objects to the public for at least 120 days a year may be determined to be eligible as a museum under certain circumstances.

For more information, please see 2 C.F.R.

§ 3187.3.(b) A public or private nonprofit agency that is responsible for the operation of a museum that meets the eligibility criteria in 1, 2, and 3(a), applying on behalf of the museum.

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