About USHRAB Grants

USHRAB awards grants of up to $7500 to cultural heritage organizations who undertake time-limited archival projects. USHRAB grants fund projects that preserve and/or provide access to historical records that reflect Utah’s diverse populations and histories. To date, USHRAB has awarded more than $400,000 in grant funding for Utah-based archival projects. Funding is competitive and applications are required. Funding must be matched 1:1 in kind or in cash and projects must contain a public access component.

Below you will find information about the kinds of projects we fund, the kinds of records eligible for funding, the kinds of institutions we fund, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about USHRAB funding. If your question is not answered here, please contact USHRAB Executive Secretary Gen Miller.

USHRAB-funded projects generally fall into two categories. As you conceptualize and plan for your project you may find it helpful to categorize it using these guidelines. Doing so may help you address some key questions in the application related to project scope, goals, and outcomes.

Preservation-Driven Projects

Access-Driven Projects

Preservation is meant to protect historical materials from damage, harm, decay, or destruction in order to minimize the loss of information and extend the life of the materials.

Access is defined as the ability of the repository and its users to locate relevant information through adequate processing of materials and the use of catalogs, indexes, finding aids, or other tools.

What is a preservation-driven project?

Preservation-driven projects will result in processed and stabilized historical records. Records in need of preservation are usually those that are poorly arranged and described, improperly boxed, or kept in unmonitored, unregulated environments. Projects in this category can also include the conservation of damaged records and the implementation of solutions that ensure the preservation of electronic records.

What about digitization?

Digitization projects will fall into this category when the goal is to preserve records that are in fragile condition. Depending on the project scope and institutional capacity, you may consider incorporating arrangement and description activities into your project proposal. But please note that any material digitized in the course of a project, must be arranged and described according to archival standards prior to digitization. This existing descriptive information will serve as metadata. While continued access to original materials may be limited after digitization due to their fragile nature, the original records must be retained and maintained. Digitization alone does not guarantee preservation. Applicants should account for the long term preservation of the digital master files in their proposals. Projects must adhere to best practices for digital formatting and metadata standards to ensure the sustainability of digital collections.

Examples of preservation-driven projects

Historical county records collections by Davis County: The County arranged and rehoused historical marriage licenses and applications, oaths of office, and county official bonds/surety bonds, which had previously been stored in overstuffed drawers in antique wooden cabinets.
Kendall Webb Photography Collection by the Park City Museum: The Museum contracted with the University of Utah and Mountain West Digital Library to digitize nearly 3,000 rapidly deteriorating acetate negatives from the 1940s-1950s.

What is an access-driven project?

The primary goal of most access projects is to give the institution intellectual and physical control over a collection in order to make the information contained within available to users, including researchers and the general public. Access projects might address the arrangement and description of unprocessed or poorly processed collections, the creation of finding aids or indexes for previously processed collections, or the digitization and online presentation of frequently accessed material.

What about digitization?

Digitization projects can be access-driven when the primary goal is to provide access to patrons. This will likely be the driving factor for digitization collections that have high research value and/or are used often. Projects should make use of locally or regionally significant historical records collections. The material should already be arranged and described according to archival standards so that projects can use existing information as metadata. Original records must be retained and maintained.

Even if a digitization project is primarily access-driven, you will need to plan for long-term management and preservation of the digital master files. In essence, digitizing a collection creates a second collection that must also be cared for in perpetuity. Be sure to account for this in your proposal. Projects must adhere to best practices for digital formatting and metadata standards to ensure the sustainability of digital collections.

Examples of access-driven projects

The Shirley H. Platt Deaf Athletics Collection by Utah Valley University: Archivists processed and rehoused the nearly 43-cubic foot collection, created a finding aid and MARC record, and digitized particularly important or relevant documents within the collection, thus making all of the material more readily available to a larger audience.
Digitization of early pioneer narratives by the Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum: DUP volunteers worked with Utah State University to digitize and host portraits of early pioneers and documents related to early settlement in the Cache Valley.