Small and Diverse Archives Needs Assessments 

3/20/2019 12:00 PM



The National Historical Publications and Records Commission has as one of its four strategic goals to “Enhance the capacity of small and diverse organizations with historical records collections. The Commission seeks to encourage small and diverse organizations with historical collections that represent the rich diversity of America’s culture and history and to assist small repositories with tools to raise their capacities.”

Since 1974 the Commission has supported archival organizations, repositories, and other records programs across the nation, awarding more than 2,500 “records” grants, including support to state historical records advisory boards. While some states and regions have received substantial support for projects over the past four decades, there are several states that have received very few grants. Likewise, certain kinds of historical records collections are under-represented among our grantees, including records of people of color, rural communities, and religious minorities, as well as other groups of citizens.

The NHPRC is seeking to enter into two cooperative agreements with partner(s) able to conduct:

  1. A Needs Assessment of small and diverse archival organizations and repositories to outline the barriers to their long-term sustainability, growth, and public access. The outcome of the Needs Assessment would be a report that identifies strengths, challenges, and opportunities among small and diverse archival organizations, as well as the best practices and other resources that could be utilized by these organizations.
  2.  A Needs Assessment to identify records collections documenting America’s diverse culture and history that are difficult for people to discover, access, and use. These may include records of people of color, rural communities, religious minorities, social movements, etc., as well as those records not housed in archival repositories. The outcome of the Needs Assessment would be a report that identifies areas requiring enhanced documentation and the resources that could be utilized to provide improved access. The partner(s) should outline an appropriate research strategy for conducting the needs assessment(s), which may include listening sessions at professional meetings; conduct telephone, on-line, and in-person interviews; and survey for the areas of archives’ and repositories’ operations for which additional resources might make a difference.

OUTCOMES: Two cooperative agreements of up to $25,000 each to commence on July 1, 2019, with final reports due March 31, 2020. Partners should have experience in dealing with small and medium-sized archival organizations and repositories, an understanding of the dynamics of local, state, and federal funding, and the overarching issues for long-term sustainability and public access at archives and repositories. These reports will be used to shape ongoing NHPRC grant opportunities. We also hope that participants in the Needs Assessment surveys will identify potential collaborators and find support to apply for NHPRC grants.

For more information, please contact Daniel Stokes,