Conservation Assessment Program
- It 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;
- 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; and
- It must be a museum that, using a professional staff, is organized on a permanent basis for essentially educational 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.
- It must be able to have all of its collections and facilities assessed in a two-day site visit.
What types of museums are eligible?
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.
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, whose responsibilities relate to the museum’s administration and operations. Such responsibilities include museum governance, administration, programming, and collections management. If selected to participate in the program, the museum must designate one of the professional staff members to serve as the project contact and oversee program activities. If a museum does not have a full-time professional staff member, it may be eligible if it can demonstrate in the application that it has the full-time equivalent: one or more staff members with administration and operations responsibilities.
What does it mean to exhibit the museum’s 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 90 days per year is deemed to exhibit objects to the general public on a regular basis. If a museum is not scheduled to be open to the public 90 days per year, it is still eligible for CAP if it can demonstrate that it was open at least 90 days in the preceding year through a combination of scheduled days open and days open by appointment.
If a museum has collections too numerous to be assessed within two days or has previously received federally funded assessments, Heritage Preservation, in consultation with the CAP Advisory Committee, reserves the right to determine whether a museum is appropriate for CAP.
Museums whose collections and/or facilities are too large to be surveyed within two days should apply for a general conservation survey grant through the IMLS Museums for America program. Additionally, museums that wish to have a detailed condition survey of a portion of their collections should apply for Museums for America. Additional information is available at http://www.imls.gov or by contacting the IMLS Office of Museum Services at 202-653-4789.
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page may answer some of your additional questions about eligibility or appropriateness.
2013 Emergency CAP Assessments:
Thought the 2013 CAP application deadline has passed? If your museum sustained damage to collections or historic structures from Superstorm Sandy, you may still be eligible for an emergency CAP assessment. To qualify, museums must be located in a federally declared disaster area. For more information, or to discuss your museum’s options, contact the CAP staff at 202-233-0800 or email us here.
A sample CAP application may be downloaded here. This sample application will help you gather the necessary information to complete a CAP application, but it may not be submitted as your museum’s actual CAP application.
When Do I Apply?
The 2014 CAP application will be available on this page starting on Tuesday, October 1, 2013. To be notified of the 2014 application’s release, please email us.