Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program
The below information provides a general overview of the grants program. Please refer to the official rules for full compliance of the grants program administrative rules. Any checklists, suggestions, or guidance found on this website are for illustrative purposes only and do not supersede the official rules for the program.
The Oklahoma Historical Society, a state agency and private membership organization, may set aside funds each year to assist organizations that collect, preserve, and share collections associated with Oklahoma history. The objectives of the program include:
- Create a statewide, online database that identifies collections, programs, and exhibits that will encourage the sharing of resources between institutions.
- Encourage improvement in the care of collections, a higher quality of exhibits, and the expansion of Oklahoma history programs at the local level where a sense of community and the spirit of volunteerism are assets that can be tapped for historical purposes.
- Foster a learning process that brings together trained, experienced museum and archival professionals with avocational volunteers and part-time employees who want to improve care of collections, learn techniques of preservation, and expand educational programs.
Only entities that meet the following eligibility requirements shall be considered for a grant:
- Applicants must be municipal, county, or tribal governments or not-for-profit historical organizations registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State (museums, historic sites, historical associations, libraries with special collections, or genealogical associations in the state of Oklahoma that feature Oklahoma history as a major component of their mission).
- Applicant organizations must collect, preserve, and share collections that may include objects, photographs, manuscripts, videos, audio recordings, maps, periodicals, books, vertical files, archaeological material, or buildings.
- Applicant organizations must have a strategic plan. If an organization does not have a strategic plan, the only project that will be eligible for consideration is the development of a strategic plan.
- The minimum amount requested shall be $1,000 and the maximum amount requested shall be $20,000.
- Applicants must provide a cash match of ten (10) percent of the total grant funds awarded by the OHS.
- Proposed projects must be completed within twelve (12) months of receipt of grant contract.
The following serve as examples of projects that would be eligible for funding. Some of these projects may be accomplished by a grant recipient’s staff and/or volunteers, with payments available every quarter or month based on completed work. Some may be accomplished through OHS project teams that work as consultants to the grant recipients. Still other projects may be completed through third-party consultants who are paid quarterly based on work completed.
- Storage, management, and/or care of collections
- Conducting, transcribing, or cataloging oral histories
- Digital conversion of historical collections
- Preservation assessments
- Emergency Preparedness Efforts
- Environmental assessments and monitoring systems
- Exhibit research, writing, graphic design, fabricating, mounting, and installation
- Production or installation of audio/visual components of exhibits
- Governance capacity building, including board development, constitution and bylaws, or policies and procedures
- Strategic plan/succession planning
- Board, staff, and volunteer training
- Public programs, such as guided tours, classes, or lectures
- Historical markers
- Website development
- Regional workshops
- Acquisition of collections
The following projects will not be eligible for a grant:
- Repair, maintenance, or expansion of facilities
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Utilities or insurance
- Salaries, wages, or benefits for full-time employees (project-specific salaries will be considered)
- Creation of new monuments, sculptures, murals, or other works of art, unless it serves as an integral part of a larger exhibit
- Acquisition of real estate
- Landscaping or site work
- Planning for new construction
Grant Selection Weighted Criteria
Using the established weighted criteria below, a rating of one (1) to ten (10) will be applied to each criteria, with one (1) signifying minimum value and ten (10) signifying maximum value. The rating then will be multiplied by the weight assigned to each criteria to determine a total value. The highest rating an organization may receive is 190 points.
All project proposals will be evaluated and ranked using the following weighted criteria:
- Historical importance of the collections or theme of the applicant organization as defined by the most current OHS Historic Context Review Report (available upon request), which is in effect at the time of the solicitation of proposals, which shall be weighted at a factor of four (4).
- Project possibilities, which may include number of patrons served, economic impact, capacity building impact, or anticipated revenue generated which shall be weighted at a factor of four (4).
- Community support, which may include direct participation of officers, board members, members, or volunteers; affiliations with other non-profit organizations; or amount and source of the match, which shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Sustainability, which may include record of collecting experience, record of regular meetings of officers and board members, record of past completed projects, and record of budget and project management capabilities, which shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Demonstration of measurable project impact based on quantifiable results such as number of collections conserved, oral histories produced, or students served, which shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Annual operating budget, including salaries, of under $300,000, which shall be weighted at a factor of two (2).
- Failure to meet requirements from past Heritage Preservation Grant award (if applicable), which shall be weighted at a factor of negative two (-2).
For the fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020) the OHS has allocated $500,000 for grant funds. The total amount of funds to be granted, as well as specific grants awarded, will be based on appropriations, unless a revenue shortfall reduces appropriations to the OHS. If this occurs, funds granted will be deducted by the proportionate percentage of the shortfall to the Oklahoma Historical Society's appropriations.
Some projects may be accomplished by a grant recipient’s staff and/or volunteers, with payments available every quarter or month based on completed work. Some may be accomplished through OHS project teams that work as consultants to the grant recipients. Still other projects may be completed through third-party consultants who are paid quarterly based on work completed. (See the list of typical projects.)
Applications forms will be available online at the Oklahoma Historical Society's website following the announcement of solicitation of proposals. This form must be submitted online following the instructions on the website. Applicants with questions regarding the application may contact the OHS. Any staff member(s) responding directly to questions will not be part of the evaluation or award decision process.
The following information will be requested in the application:
- Project name
- Organization with name and contact information of authorizing official
- Organization status (non-profit, governmental entity, tribal)
- Date registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, if applicant organization is a nonprofit
- Organization type (museum, historic site, historical society, library, etc.)
- Organization description (including, if applicable, existing programs, scope and approximate number of collections, visitation, sources of financial support, board members, and total membership)
- Accessibility to the public (this may include hours of operation, website, social media, workshops, or regularly scheduled meetings)
- Key staff/volunteers (if applicable) and board members
- Project summary
- Plan for sustainability
- Project cost
- Amount requested
- Source of ten (10) percent cash match
- Strategic plan (not applicable if grant request is for strategic plan development)
- Organizational and proposed project budget
- Timeline of project
- Date board of directors approved submitting a project proposal
- Any other information as may be requested
OHS staff will evaluate all project proposals and certify whether each meets the minimum eligibility requirements. Incomplete or improperly completed applications, or applications received after the application deadline will not be considered.
Only one completed application will be considered per organization each grant selection cycle.
Application Evaluation and Awards
- A committee of OHS staff members, appointed by the OHS Executive Director, shall rank the proposed projects using the weighted criteria. The OHS staff member(s) designated to facilitate the program and grant application process will be excluded from appointment to this committee.
- Using the established weighted criteria, a rating of one (1) to ten (10) will be applied to each criteria, with one (1) signifying minimum value and ten (10) signifying maximum value. The rating then will be multiplied by the weight assigned to each criteria to determine a total value. The highest rating an organization may receive is 190 points.
- The OHS Executive Director shall submit the ranked list of project proposals to the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Review Committee for review and recommendation to the full Board.
- The OHS Board of Directors will make the final decision of which projects will be funded, the amount of each grant, the number of organizations to receive a grant, and the quarter of the year when each project will be initiated. In awarding grants the Board will, in accordance with statutory requirements, consider geographic diversity and give preference to projects affecting collections, educational programs, and exhibits (53 O.S. Section 415). Because the grant application procedure(s) are not individual proceedings, the awarding of grants by the Board is not subject to appeal under the Administrative Procedures Act.
- The OHS will initiate a contract with each grant recipient.
Where applicable, payments for projects, programs, services, or activities for the Heritage Preservation Grant Program will be made according to the Central Purchasing Act (74 O.S. Section 85.1 et seq.) and Central Purchasing Rules as established by the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services Administrative rules OAC 260:115.
Grant recipients must submit documentation for completed work and invoices to receive reimbursement as the project moves forward. All reimbursements will be made after proof that work has been completed.
The grantee shall retain all books, documents, accounting procedures and practices, and other data, regardless of type and regardless of whether such items are in written form, in the form of computer data, or in any other form. In accepting any contract with the State, the successful grant recipient agrees any pertinent State or Federal agency will have the right to examine and audit all records relevant to execution and performance of the resultant contract.
The successful grant recipient is required to retain records relative to the contract for the duration of the contract and for a period of seven (7) years following completion and/or termination of the contract. If an audit, litigation, or other action involving such records is started before the end of the seven (7) year period, the records are required to be maintained for two (2) years from the date that all issues arising out of the action are resolved, or until the end of the seven (7) year retention period, whichever is later.
The following words and terms shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Administrative Rules Liaison" means or refers to the OHS staff member that has been designated by the OHS Executive Director to serve as the liaison to the Office of Administrative Rules (OAR) in the Oklahoma Secretary of State's Office. They shall act as liaison between the OHS and the OAR in all matters concerning documents submitted by the OHS. All documents submitted by the OHS shall be coordinated through the liaison, and require the verification and signature of the liaison.
"Authorizing official" means or refers to the individual authorized on behalf of the institution to approve the submission of proposals and accept any resulting project grants or contracts.
"Collections" means or refers to the objects, photographs, manuscripts, videos, audio recordings, maps, periodicals, books, vertical files, archaeological material, or oral histories under the care of an institution.
"Conserved" means or refers to the act of stabilizing or protecting an artifact or archival collection.
"County government" means or refers to Oklahoma county governments as defined in Oklahoma law.
"Exhibits" means or refers to the public display either physical or online of collections with contextual interpretation informing the public on the topic being explored.
"Key staff" means or refers to the staff member(s) or individual(s) who will play a major role in the proposed project.
"Libraries with special collection(s)" means or refers to historical collections held by libraries that may include anything other than published books.
"Major component" means or refers to the mission of the institution and the inclusion of Oklahoma history.
"Municipal government" means or refers to Oklahoma municipalities as defined in Oklahoma law.
"OHS" means or refers to the Oklahoma Historical Society.
"OHS project teams" means or refers to employees or volunteers under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Historical Society who may serve as consultants or contractors to the grant recipient to accomplish all or part of an awarded project.
"Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Review Committee" means or refers to the committee appointed by the Oklahoma Historical Society Board President and confirmed by the Oklahoma Historical Society Board of Directors. As authorized by 53 O.S. Section 416(a) this committee will be made up of no less than five (5) and no more than seven (7) individuals.
"Oklahoma Historical Society Board of Directors" means or refers to the governing body of the Oklahoma Historical Society as authorized by 53 O.S. Section 1.6.
"Operating budget" means or refers to the most recent operating budget approved for the applicant organization. This budget shall include staff salaries but exclude non-reoccurring costs. Applicants of tribal or municipal entities may use the operating budget of the division in which the project will take place. Libraries with special collections may use the operating budget allotted to special collections. An example of this would be a city government applying for a grant to digitize historic maps. This applicant would use the operating budget for the division which oversees archives, not the entire budget of the city government.
"Programs" means or refers to organized educational activities available to the public. Examples of this might include a tour, lecture series, or workshop.
"Project" means or refers to an inclusive term to convey any eligible proposal.
"Theme" means or refers to broad categories of Oklahoma history such as "American Indian," "Transportation," or "Military."
"Third-party consultant" means or refers to a contracted third party who conducts work for the grant recipient as it relates to the project grant funds awarded.
"Publications" means or refers to publishing content of an educational nature in print or electronic form. For this purpose, publications would not include paid advertisements or invitation cards.
"Strategic plan" means or refers to an organization's process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. The applicant organization's strategic plan should address the following: organization's mission statement, long-range planning, major issues and opportunities facing the organization, and an action plan for accomplishing goals.
"Tribal government" means or refers to federally recognized American Indian tribes located in Oklahoma.