Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program

Grants-in-Aid Program

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is proud to announce the new Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program. We will begin taking applications for this new grants-in-aid program this fall and announce grant recipients in early 2020.

On August 1, 2019, the OHS will make an announcement on the official opening and closing dates for applications, and further information regarding the program will be available at that time.

The grants are specific to three categories: collections, exhibits, and programs. There is more detail in the criteria section of this page. The amounts will generally range from $1,000 to $20,000. Please note that projects such as architectural plans, expansions, and repairs will not be eligible for the grants.

Questions? Comments? Contact Nicole Harvey.

Adopted Rules

The Oklahoma Historical Society has adopted rules for the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program.

View Adopted Rules   View Rules Impact Statement



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.



Eligible Entities.  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.

Eligible Projects.  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.
  • 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.  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

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).

Application Process

Requests for project proposals.  Requests for project proposals shall be distributed at such times as determined by the OHS in the manner provided below.

Notification, solicitation, and deadlines.  Notification of availability of funds, solicitation of proposals, and deadlines for the receipt of application shall be provided, but not limited to, the following organizations or via the following methods:

  • Oklahoma Museums Association
  • Oklahoma Department of Libraries
  • Oklahoma Historical Society website
  • Press Release

Funding.  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.

Typical Projects.  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
  • Publications
  • Historical markers
  • Website development
  • Regional workshops
  • Acquisition of collections

Application Requirements.  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.

Payment procedures.  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.

Audit.  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.