Oregon Offers Grants to Qualified Museums

In Oregon, qualified museums can now apply for grant funds to help with their collections, heritage tourism, education and interpretive projects. The awards range from $2,000 to $10,000 in value. The funds will be distributed by the Oregon Heritage Commission.

Types of Projects to Be Funded By the Grants

Museums can submit funding proposals for different types of projects. The options include cataloging, archival and storage, conservation and disaster preparedness. The heritage tourism funding options include enhancing the experience of visitors, training for museum staff and volunteers and museum marketing and promotions. The allowed educational and interpretive projects include online education, workshops, school classes, summer and school break camps and exhibits that are temporary or permanent.

Options for Museums to Use the Funds

If the scope of a project is outside that of the museum's usual operations, it can partner with another organization. The partnering organization should be one that will help the museum meet its mission. There is also an option for a museum to envelop its response to pandemic challenges in the projects it wants to fund. An example of a possible partnership would be for a natural history museum to partner with the Audubon Society in order to offer education or an exhibit around bird watching.

Advantages of This Museum Funding Project

The options for museums to get funding through this project are vast. According to Katie Henry, who is the Oregon Heritage Coordinator, the program is broad. It can be used to the full range of Oregon's history. The goal is to raise awareness and preserve history. Henry adds that the Oregon Heritage organization aims to preserve the state's history by increasing the capacity of existing organizations who are already doing this type of work in the state.

Examples of Past Educational Oregon Heritage Projects That Received Funding

This is not the first time that the Oregon Heritage organization has offered funding for museums and partnering organizations. Some of the projects of past years have included interpretation and tourism at the Bush House Museum in Salem. There were also tourism projects funded at the Gilliam County Historical Society, Oregon High Desert Museum, Oregon Jewish Museum and Portland Chinatown History Foundation.

Examples of Previous Collections Projects Funded By Oregon Heritage

The Willamette University has had several collections projects funded by past iterations of Oregon Heritage grants. Their permanent collections increased as a result of the funds. Some of the other institutions that have received funding for their collections include the Aurora Colony Historical Society, Gresham Historical Society, Independence Heritage Museum and Lane County Historical Society. The Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society and Polk County Historical Society and Museum received funds to make one-time purchases for their collections. In Eugene, the Shelton McMurphy Johnson House received funding for purchasing new items for its collections. The Oregon Heritage organization also provided funding to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.

Past Tourism Grant Recipients

In past years, the Oregon Heritage organization offered funding for tourism projects at the Baker Heritage Museum and Wallowa History Center. Those projects increased the number of visitors. The museum and history center were also able to boost marketing for membership drives with those funds.

How Museums Can Apply for Funds

This round of funding involves completing an online application. Support is available. The Oregon Heritage group will offer a free online workshop for organizations that want to apply. The free workshop and a tutorial on how to complete the grant application will take place on March 2, 2021 from 2:00 until 3:00 pm. Participants need to register in advance to attend the online workshop. The training session will be recorded. There are also tips online. Prospective applicants can register for the online training at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIkceCuqjkiGNNPrc0aHkxPdJGMIGVYRVYk.

About the Oregon Heritage Commission

The Oregon Heritage Commission includes nine individuals. They represent Oregon's heritage and geographic diversity. Each member is appointed by Oregon's governor. There are nine additional advisors from state agencies and organizations. The mission of the commission is to sustain, enhance and secure Oregon's heritage. They do this with public and private partnerships and advocacy. Educating the public is a major goal of the commission. The commission aims to boost knowledge, include more historical voices and enhance access to historic resources in the state. Anyone can learn more about the grants by contacting Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oregon.gov or 503-986-0685. People can also visit www.oregonheritage.org to learn more about the grants.

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