Conservation Assessment Program and Museum Assessment Program

Conservation Assessment Program and Museum Assessment Program

The 2014 Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) application will become available on Heritage Preservation’s Web site at soon. It is anticipated the deadline to submit 2014 applications will be in early December. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so museums are encouraged to apply as soon as the application is released.

CAP is a federally-funded program that provides professional conservation assessments for small to mid-sized museums of all types. The program also funds historic buildings assessments for institutions with buildings that are 50 years or older. The assessment process helps museum professionals improve their institutions’ conservation policies and procedures, learn conservation and historic preservation best practices, and establish relationships with conservators and historic structures assessors. The resulting CAP report helps museums to develop strategies for improved collections care, long-range planning, staff and board education, and fund-raising. CAP is administered by Heritage Preservation and supported through a cooperative agreement with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


This fall, the 2014 CAP application will be available online and for download as PDF and Word fill-in forms. To receive notification of the availability of the 2014 CAP application, or for more information, please contact the CAP staff at or 202.233.0800. 

The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) helps small and mid-sized museums strengthen operations, plan for the future
and meet national standards through self-study and a site visit from a peer reviewer. IMLS-funded MAP grants are non-competitive and provide $4,000 of consultative resources and services to participating museums. MAP provides guidance and growth in the following areas:

  • prioritization of goals
  • focus on mission and planning
  • communications between staff, board
    and other constituents
  • credibility with potential funders
    and donors

The program offers four assessments:

  • Organizational
  • Collections Stewardship
  • Community Engagement
  • Leadership (full cost only)

Each assessment can be completed in less than a year. Costs to participate range from free to $750. Applications are accepted twice per year by deadlines of July 1 or December 1.


MAP is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alliance. 

More information on MAP at

So what is the difference between CAP and Collections MAP?

While there is some overlap between them (both will look at the collections storage area, for example), these programs complement one another by focusing on different aspects of collections care. Collections MAP examines the “big picture”
– how policies, procedure, and planning affect collections care. CAP is more focused on preservation and conservation of the collections.

Is a museum required to have an assessment through MAP before they apply to CAP?

Participation in MAP is not required before CAP, but it can be advantageous to your museum. The Museum Assessment Program helps museums define or improve their mission statement and collections management policies. Before learning
how to better care for your collection through CAP, it is important to consider your institution’s purpose and procedures for collecting and exhibiting, and MAP can help you do so. In fact, many museums stated that participating in MAP’s institutional and collections management assessments helped prepare them
for CAP.