Oklahoma Historical Society Heritage Preservation Grant Program

Grants-in-Aid Program

The Oklahoma Historical Society is seeking funding from the Oklahoma Legislature to start a grants-in-aid program for municipal, county, and tribal governments, and non-profit historical organizations in the state. If funding is secured, we can begin awarding grants in the fall of 2019.

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.

Notice of Rulemaking Intent

The Oklahoma Historical Society is proposing new rules for the Heritage Preservation Grant Program.

View Proposed Rules   View Rules Impact Statement

Written comments will be accepted until Monday, March 18, 2019, before 3 p.m. at the Oklahoma Historical Society, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, Attn: Nicole Harvey, or by email to nharvey@okhistory.org.

Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held on Monday, March 18, 2019, at 3 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center, Dr. LeRoy H. Fischer Boardroom, third floor, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

To see the official notices in the Oklahoma Register, go to the Office of Administrative Rules and click "View Registers." The Oklahoma Historical Society's notices of rulemaking intent may be found in Volume 36, Issue 11.

Questions? Comments? Contact Nicole Harvey.

Program Description and Criteria


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.


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).

Eligible Projects
Only projects that meet the following eligibility requirements shall be considered for a grant.

  • Applicant organizations must collect, preserve, and share collections that may include objects, photographs, manuscripts, microfilm, vertical files, archaeological resources, or buildings.
  • The minimum amount requested shall be $1,000 and the maximum amount requested shall be $20,000.
  • Applicants must provide a match of ten (10) percent of the total grant funds.
  • 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
  • Acquisition of real estate
  • Landscaping or site work
  • Planning for new construction

Grant Selection Weighted Criteria

Evaluation and Ranking
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 multiplied by a weighted factor of five (5).
  • 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 multiplied by a weighted factor of five (5).
  • 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 multiplied by a weighted factor of three (3).
  • Annual operating budgets, including salaries, of under $200,000, which will be weighted at a factor of two (2).
  • Project possibilities, which may include number of patrons served, economic impact, or revenue generated which shall be multiplied by a weighted factor of three (3).
  • Failure to timely meet requirements from past grant award (if applicable) which shall be multiplied by a weighted factor of negative two (-2).
  • Demonstration of measurable project impact based on quantifiable results such as number of collections conserved, oral histories produced, or students served, which shall be multiplied by a weighted factor of two (2).

Application Process

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

Notification, Availability of Funds, 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, Mistletoe Leaves, OHS Extra!
  • Press Release

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 archival 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
  • Guided tours
  • Publications
  • Historical markers
  • Website development
  • Regional workshops

Application Requirements
Applications forms will be available online at the Oklahoma Historical Society’s website following the announcement of solicitation of proposals. This form may be submitted following the instructions on the website via mail, in person or online.

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
  • 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 (if applicable) and board members
  • Project summary
  • Plan for sustainability
  • Project Cost
  • Amount requested
  • Source of 10 percent cash match
  • Strategic plan (if applicable)
  • Organizational 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 that each meets the minimum eligibility requirements. Incomplete or improperly completed applications, or applications received after the application deadline will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Only one completed or properly 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. 

Each project shall be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 using the established weighted 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 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 OHS Board.

The OHS Board of Directors will make the final decision of which projects will be funded the amount of each 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 414).

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.

The grantee shall retain all books, documents, papers, records, and other materials involving all activities and transactions related to its contract for at least five (5) years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or until all audit findings have been resolved, whichever is later, or as otherwise required by law.

The grantee funded under this program shall permit authorized representatives of the OHS or the State of Oklahoma to have full access to and the right to fully examine all such materials.