The Value of NEH to Museums

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are critical to museums’ ability to serve their communities as economic and educational assets. They support museums as institutions of learning and exploration, and as keepers of our cultural, historical, and scientific heritages. These programs teach essential skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and effective communication.

NEH funds humanities councils in every state and U.S. territory. These councils sponsor family literacy programs, speakers’ bureaus, cultural heritage tourism, exhibitions, and live performances. It has awarded more than 63,000 grants since 1965, totaling $5.3 billion, and has leveraged $2.5 billion in private matching donations. That public investment has led to the creation of books, films, museum exhibits, exciting discoveries, and more.

IMLS serves as the primary federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The agency’s work benefits libraries of all types: public, research, academic and tribal; and museums of all disciplines: art, history, botanic gardens, aquariums, science and technology centers, children’s museums and zoos. They, and their partners, have inspired libraries and museums to advance innovation, learning and civic engagement. They awarded more than $2.7 million to museums and libraries in Colorado in 2016 alone

Did you know that the Museums of Western Colorado have benefited directly from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services? We have been the recipient of two IMLS grants and one NEH grant. IMLS grants funded an environmental assessment of the C.D. Smith building prior to the museum’s move in the early 2000s to ensure that the new building would be able to maintain proper conditions for collections storage and the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) necessary to get us ready for reaccreditation in 2008. The Cross Orchards Packing Shed/Barn was stabilized in the early 2000s thanks to an NEH grant given to the State of Colorado Office of Historic Preservation, which allows them to fund projects protecting and preserving the historic places of Colorado.

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