National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Access to Historical Records Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

May the application contain activities related to more than one of the four project categories?

Yes. The application may address any one or combination of the activities contained within the Basic Processing, Detailed Processing, Documentary Heritage, or Retrospective Conversion of Descriptive Information categories.

Will NHPRC award a certain number of grants within each category?

No. Applications will receive awards based on merit and the level of available funds.

What is the maximum time period for a grant?

Two years.

Do we need to address in our application the categories for which we are applying?

No. Your application must clearly convey the project methods but does not necessarily need to state specifically whether your project fits within the Basic Processing, Detailed Processing, Documentary Heritage, or Retrospective Conversion of Descriptive Information categories.

Has the Commission funded projects that involve work at several institutions?

Yes. Proposals may present a consortium approach as long as there is demonstrated institutional support at each organization. For the purposes of the SF-424 application form and ongoing administration, only one institution may serve as the formal applicant and project coordinator.

May we submit letters of support in our application package? If so, how many may we provide? Who should write these letters?

Letters of support are not required; however, many successful applications include up to four of these. In general, letters of support from your institution should demonstrate an on-going commitment for your program once the grant period ends, while letters from researchers should attest to the usefulness, value, and national significance of the records described in the application. If you are planning a consortium project, letters of support from each of the participating institutions will be necessary to demonstrate the strength of the consortium.

Given the grant program's title, must our project contain subject matter that documents the democratic or the political process?

No. The NHPRC considers all facets of American history as part of "documenting democracy."

Where do I send my draft for your review? What application elements must the draft contain?

Please submit drafts by the draft deadline listed in the grant announcement to Alexander Lorch at Do not use to submit the draft. At a minimum, the draft should include a project narrative and a budget. The narrative should be in .pdf or .doc format. The budget should be completed on the federal budget form found at

When will I receive feedback about my draft?

Drafts are read in the order in which they are received. Depending on the number of drafts received, prospective applicants should receive feedback by late August.

Should I contact my State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB)?

Yes. You should communicate as early as possible with the SHRAB coordinator for your state about your intention to apply. For contact information please visit

We do not have an active SHRAB in our state. How will this affect our eligibility?

If you are a state government agency and don't have an active SHRAB in your state, then your institution will not be eligible to receive an award. If you are from any other entity in the state (a university, a non-profit, local government or tribe), you are still eligible to receive an award.

How does the review process work?

Applications are reviewed by the applicant's respective SHRAB, a selection of four to six professional peers, and the NHPRC staff. Applicants will receive an opportunity to respond to the reviews. Based on this information, the Commission makes its final award recommendations to the Archivist of the United States at its late spring meeting.

May we contribute existing staff and paid intern time as cost share for the project?

Yes. Make sure that your application justifies the use of existing personnel resources as cost share. Since permanent, full-time staff have other day-to-day responsibilities, successful proposals rarely assume that existing staff will work more than 50 percent time on a grant-funded project.

May we contribute volunteer time as cost share for the project?

A reasonable charge for volunteers, including advisory boards, may be included as cost share. For volunteers who are working in the equivalent of hourly positions, their wages should be set according to the norms for people in similar paid positions. For consultants who are volunteering their time, the same reasonable principle applies. In all cases, just as with existing paid staff, volunteer contributions must be fully documented and justified during the course of a project.

May we request grant funds for indirect costs?

The NHPRC prefers that its limited funds be used for direct project costs and that applicants include indirect costs as a part of their cost share to the project [Please see 36 CFR 1206.50 (b) (3)].

Are local governments eligible to apply?

Yes. Counties, municipalities, and other statutorily identified local governments may apply; however, they must justify how the subject content of their records conforms to the NHPRC's national significance requirement.

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