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Local History Grants - Scholar in Residence (SIR) Grant

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits, Agencies, and
Educational Institutions to Host Scholars for Historical Research

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Mass Humanities (Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities)

Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $3,500 to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions to host scholars that will conduct research on their historical collections. Research must culminate in a paper and presentation that is available to the public.

Scholar in Residence Grants (SIR) support small organizations in welcoming a scholar to research their historical collections, ultimately producing a paper, bibliography, and public presentation. SIRs are springboards for small organizations. By collaborating with outside experts, organizations raise their visibility and lay the groundwork for future public programs like exhibits, lectures, tours and more. 

SIR projects must:

  • Involve a scholar who is recognized by fellow experts as having knowledge in a relevant field and experience doing research in historical collections.
  • Focus on a specific collection of materials that is within the organization’s general holdings or held by cooperating public institutions.
  • Define clear research questions.
  • Connect to the organization’s mission and planning.
  • Result in a final essay and annotated bibliography, written by the scholar and made widely available to the public.
  • Culminate in an event that engages the public with the scholar’s findings. 

To be eligible for any grant type, proposals need to:

  1. Make humanities topics and approaches accessible to Massachusetts residents.
  2. Have a clear objective and completion date.
  3. Be supported by a humanities scholar.
  4. Primarily serve audiences outside of college faculty and students.

For information on what qualifies as a Humanities subject, click here:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176000

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $3,500

Term of Contract:

Date Projects May Begin: One month after notification

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

-All nonprofit, educational institutions and government organizations that serve Massachusetts residents are eligible to apply.
-Nonprofits can either have 501(c)(3) status or have begun the registration process.

Who qualifies as a humanities scholar?
-Scholars contribute to projects with their deep knowledge of humanities fields. They are recognized by fellow scholars for their expertise, or by a community as a bearer of its knowledge and traditions. For example, a scholar can be someone who has earned an advanced humanities degree from a university, or a scholar can be a tribal elder and educator.

Generally not funded:
-Work undertaken or supplies purchased before or after the grant period
-Costs of entertainment or alcohol
-Tickets costs if the revenue from ticket sales goes to the sponsoring organization
-Capital improvements, construction or restoration
-Lobbying or advocacy projects
-Profit-making or fundraising projects
-Websites, or other materials, used to promote the organization
-Professional theater productions
-Scholarships or prizes
-General operating costs
-Grants to individuals

Pre-Application Information:

-Applications are reviewed monthly from October to June, with the exception of November and December.
-Applicants can submit an application at any time.
-Staff will review submitted applications starting on the 1st of the next open month.
-Applicants will be notified by the end of that month.

Before you start, contact the foundation. Many applications begin with a phone call. If you have questions about grants and priorities, call or email a Mass Humanities Program Officer.

You can contact a Mass Humanities Program Officer (PO) at any stage of project development. Whether you’re just trying out an idea, working on the final steps of your budget, or putting your funded project in motion, POs can help you:

One-to-One Match: The cost-share match can be entirely in-kind-share.

DUNS Number: The federal government uses DUNS (Data Universal Number System) to learn who is receiving federal funds. Most large organizations have one. If you’re not sure that your sponsoring organization has one, visit the Dun & Bradstreet website to register or search for the number:

For a full timetable of application dates, click here:

For FAQs, click here:

For information on how to apply, click here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply online, click here:

Jennifer Hall-Witt
413-584-8440 ext. 102

Katherine Stevens
413-584-8440 ext. 101

Melissa Wheaton
413-584-8440 ext. 100

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts

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