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 (OHS), 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, not-for-profit historical organizations as defined in section 320:15-1-3, or a support group of a municipal, country, or tribal government or not-for-profit historical organizations.
- Applicant organizations must be engaged in the collection, preservation, and sharing of collections that may include but are not limited to: objects, photographs, manuscripts, videos, audio recordings, maps, periodicals, microforms, books, vertical files, archaeological material, or buildings.
- Applicant organizations must have a strategic plan for their organization. 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.
- Applicant organizations must have an operating budget under $300,000.
Only projects that meet the following eligibility requirements shall be considered for a grant.
- The minimum amount requested shall be $1,000 and the maximum amount requested shall be $20,000, with the exception of grant requests for the development of a strategic plan which shall be a minimum of $500 to and a maximum of $5,000.
- 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.
Ineligible Projects Expenses
The following expenses will not be eligible for a grant funding:
- Repair, maintenance, or expansion of facilities
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Utilities or insurance
- Salaries, wages, or benefits for 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
- Indirect costs
- Food or drink
- Fundraising events
- Digitization of materials for which the applicant organization or primary beneficiary does not hold copyright or permission from the copyright holder.
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 or monthly 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
Application forms will be available online through 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 Grants office. Any staff member(s) responding directly to questions regarding the grants process 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)
- Filing number with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, if applicant organization is a domestic not-for-profit.
- Organization type (museum, historic site, historical society, library with special collection , or archive, etc.)
- Organization description (including, if applicable, existing programs, scope and approximate number of collections, visitation, sources of financial support, participation of 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 project and organizational sustainability
- Project cost
- Amount requested
- Source of ten (10) percent cash match
- Strategic plan (not applicable if grant request is for strategic plan development)
- Organization's annual budget
- Timeline of project
- Date board of directors approved submitting a project proposal
- Proposed project budget which shall account for items outlined in project narrative, account for applicant organization's cash match, and include quotes from vendors or use of market research to formulate budget
- Any other information as may be requested
OHS staff will evaluate all project proposals and certify whether each meets the minimum eligibility requirements. Incomplete 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.
Applicant organizations may voluntarily send a draft application to the Grants Administrator for feedback. This draft application must be sent following the guidelines and due date found on the OHS website. Participation in the draft application feedback will not guarantee funding nor will non participation negatively affect an organization's ability to receive funding. The applicant organization is able to accept or disregard in whole or part the recommendations offered by the Grants Administrator. It is important to remember that the Grants Administrator does not have grant decision making authority.
Application Evaluation and Award Process
Grant Selection Weighted Criteria
Using the established weighted criteria below, a rating of one (1) to five (5) will be applied to each criteria, with one (1) signifying minimum value and five (5) signifying maximum value. The rating then will be multiplied by the weight assigned to each criteria to determine a total value.
All project proposals will be evaluated and ranked using the following weighted criteria:
- Project potential, which may include, fulfilling a demonstrated need in the community or for the applicant organization, economic impact on community or organization, publicly accessible product/service, possible impact on the scope of collections, or produces measurable outcomes. This criteria shall be weighted at a factor of five (5).
- 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. This criteria shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Institutional readiness of applicant organization, which may include past accomplishments, programming/activities, facilities, base of support, strength of organizational strategic plan, community engagement, participation of board members/volunteers, accessibility to the public, or record of collecting experience/care. This criteria shall be weighted a factor of three (3).
- Implementation of project, which may include a clear and comprehensive explanation of the project, a clear explanation of how the project will be accomplished, identification of staff, volunteer, and/or third party vendor responsibilities, identification of deadlines, method for gauging project impact, or ability to complete project within one year. This criteria shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Organizational impact, which may include a description of how the project fits into the long-term goals of the applicant organization, a description of how the project will increase the ability to attract and diversify future funders, and the ability to capitalize on the project's success to springboard into future projects/collaborations. This criteria shall be weighted at a factor of three (3).
- Failure to meet requirements from past Heritage Preservation Grant award (if applicable). This criteria shall be weighted at a factor of negative two (-2).
Application Evaluation and Awards
- The OHS staff review committee 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 (320:15-2-2[1-6]), a rating of one (1) to five (5) will be applied to each criteria, with one (1) signifying minimum value and five (5) signifying maximum value. The rating then will be multiplied by the weight assigned to each criteria to determine a total value. In making the list for recommendation the OHS staff review committee shall evaluate based on the weighted criteria and adherence to statutory and regulatory program requirements. These requirements are geographic balance, cash match, the existence of a strategic plan for the applicant organization, tribal division, or governmental department, as well as, consideration of failure to meet requirements from past Heritage Grant awards.
- The OHS Executive Director shall submit the staff evaluations and accompanying recommendations to the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Review Committee for review and recommendation to the full Board.
- The Oklahoma Historical Society Board of Directors will make the final decision of which projects will be funded, the amount of each grant, and the number of organizations to receive a grant. In awarding grants the Board will, in accordance with statutory requirements, 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.
- The Grants Administrator may contact the applicant organization for clarification or for additional information regarding an application.
- No employee of the OHS shall act as an individually paid third-party vendor for a project with an applicant organization that receives grant funds.
Funding and Payment Procedure
For the fiscal year 2021 (July 2020 through June 30, 2021) 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.
This grant program is reimbursement based. 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 following words and terms shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, 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.
"Cash match" means or refers to the money that the applicant organization will provide toward the project. This money can be from a number of sources, examples include: general operations, donation, or a fundraiser. Cash match would not include the salary of a staff member already working for the applicant organization. Matching funds must be expended after the grant contract is signed.
"Collections" means or refers to the objects, photographs, manuscripts, videos, audio recordings, maps, periodicals, microforms, 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.
"Indirect costs" means or refers to an organization's overhead, administrative, or other expenses not directly related to the project and also possibly supporting other projects or functions. An example of this would be another division of the applicant organization managing the financial aspects of the grant and wanting a percentage of the grant funds to pay for the financial overhead costs incurred.
"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.
"Not-for-profit historical organization" means or refers to museums, historic sites, historical associations, archives, libraries with special collections, or genealogical associations. These organizations must be located in the state of Oklahoma, be registered and in good standing with the Oklahoma Secretary of State as a domestic not for profit, and feature Oklahoma history as a major component of their mission.
"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.
"OHS staff review committee" means or refers to the OHS staff members selected by the OHS Executive Director who will evaluate applications based on the weighted criteria and adherence to program requirements. The OHS Grants Administrator is excluded from appointment to this committee and has no grant decision making power.
"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 governments may use the operating budget of the division in which the project will take place. If an applicant organization is a sub-entity of tribal or municipal government but is a historical organization (museum, historic site, historical association, archive, library with special collection or genealogical association) they will use the sub-entity's operating budget. Support organizations must use the operating budget of the primary beneficiary of the grant funds, regardless of the funding source of that operating budget. 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.
"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.
"Support groups" means or refers to a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to support the mission and provide financial support to the applicant organization. This term could also include friend's groups or foundations. An example of this would be a library operated by an institute of higher learning having a friend's group that supports the organization through applying for grants, receiving and managing donations, or hosting donor events.
"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.
"Tribal government" means or refers to federally recognized American Indian tribes located in Oklahoma.