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Oklahoma Historical Society Unveils New Grant Program

on September 19, 2019

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is proud to announce the creation of the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program. 

This new grants-in-aid program will set aside $500,000 to award grants ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to municipal, county or tribal governments or nonprofit historical organizations registered with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. The grants will be specific to three categories: collections, exhibits and programs. The online applications will open on Monday, September 9, 2019, and close on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 5 p.m., with award announcements being made in late January 2020.

“After 40 years working with community leaders in towns from Atoka to Woodward and Frederick to Wagoner, I know the collections are there that can help preserve the history of families, farms, businesses, schools, tribes and the events that have shaped our state,” said Dr. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the OHS. “I am well aware of the passion for community history that can be tapped to leverage and add to the impact of small grants.”

Administering the new grants program will be Nicole Harvey, a historian who has worked in the OHS administrative offices for seven years.

Through this program, the OHS hopes to encourage improvement in the care of collections, create a higher quality of exhibits, and expand 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. The program will also 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. Lastly, the program will allow for a statewide, online database that identifies collections, programs and exhibits that will encourage the sharing of resources between institutions.

Projects that will be eligible for funding include 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, fabrication, 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; and acquisition of collections.

“I anticipate that many grants will be used to properly store and catalog artifacts, which will encourage people and organizations to donate prized heirlooms,” said Blackburn. “Other grants will fund the digitization of photographs, documents and diaries, which in turn will encourage scholars to dig deeper into local history to find the larger trends and patterns of history.”

Regional presentations are being planned in various locations throughout the state to inform the public about this program. The official rules for the program, as well as further information, may be found at www.okhistory.org/grants or by contacting Nicole Harvey, grants administrator, at 405-522-5202 or grants@okhistory.org.

The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.