Grant for Collections Assessment for Preservation Program (CAP)

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount in in-kind support

Deadline: Feb 1, 2020

Applicant type: Museum/Library/Zoo

Funding uses: General Operating Expense

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States Of; Palau; United States; American Samoa Show all

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The Collections Assessment for Preservation Program (CAP) is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The program is designed to help small and mid-sized museums receive prioritized recommendations for improving the care of their collections.

A CAP assessment is a study of all the institution’s collections, buildings, and building systems as well as its policies and procedures relating to collections care. The assessment involves a site visit by a collections assessor and a building assessor, who spend two days touring the museum and interviewing staff and governing officials. The assessors then prepare a comprehensive report that outlines their recommendations for improved collections care tailored specifically to the participating institution.

A CAP assessment may assist small museums by:
  • identifying short- and long-term priorities for preventive conservation,
  • facilitating the development of a long-range preservation plan, and/or
  • serving as a fundraising tool for future collections projects

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • To be eligible for the Collections Assessment for Preservation Program, an institution must meet all of the following criteria: 
    • It must be either a unit of state, local, or tribal government or be a private nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.
    • It 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.
    • It must be organized on a permanent basis for educational or aesthetic purposes.
    • It must own tangible objects (animate or inanimate) and make them available to the general public through exhibition and/or research on a regular basis.
    • It must employ at least one full-time person (or the full-time equivalent of one or more staff members), whether paid or unpaid, whose responsibilities relate to the institution’s governance, administration, programming, and collections management.
    • It must be possible for assessors to review all of its collections and facilities in a two-day site visit.
  • Museums of all kinds may apply for a CAP assessment. These include: 
    • Aquariums*
    • Arboretums*
    • Art museums
    • Botanical gardens*
    • Children’s/Youth museums
    • General museums (those having two or more significant disciplines, such as a museum of art and natural history)
    • Historic houses/sites
    • History museums (including those housed in historic buildings)
    • Natural history/anthropology museums
    • Nature centers
    • Planetariums
    • Science/Technology museums
    • Specialized museums (limited to a single distinct subject, such as a maritime museum)
    • Zoological parks*
  • *Note:
    • Botanical gardens and arboretums may use CAP to assess the preservation needs of both their living and non-living collections.
    • Institutions with fully surveyed living animal collections (such as those accredited by the AZA) may use CAP to assess the needs of their non-living collections and the animals’ physical conditions and habitats.
  • Size: Qualifying institutions must be able to have all of their collections and exhibition spaces (including any off-site storage) assessed within a two-day period.


  • What institutions are NOT eligible?
    • agencies of the federal government
    • institutions that primarily serve as a library or archive
    • historic structures without collections
    • institutions with collections that take more than two days to assess