Museum Digital Tools: Budget and Funding

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

December 07, 2022

Continuing our follow up to the “Ask Me Anything: Museum Digital Projects” webinar, this post will address questions we received subsequently in order to provide additional insight, strategies, and resources.

We received several excellent questions after the deadline and have decided to include them in this series. Our thanks to everyone who sent in questions! Your participation helps us to craft future content that is of the most use to you, our colleagues.

Today’s Post

Today’s post will focus on questions related to budgets and funding specific to museum digital projects.

Q. I don’t have a large budget. What are the “must have” tools for digitization?

It depends on what your goals are. Typically, museums will require a tool to digitally capture a collection item and a system to record item data.

  • Digitization equipment: camera or scanner
  • Data capture: spreadsheet, database, CMS
  • Digital asset storage: hard-drive, cloud storage, CMS and/or DAMS

When considering any digitization tool, you should consider fit, time, and budget. As in:

  • Does this tool fit the items I’m digitizing and the desired output?
  • Does this tool perform a quality scan/image in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Does this tool meet the museum budget?

For more details regarding these considerations please read my post 3 Things to Consider When Purchasing Museum Digitization Equipment, available via Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog. For more information on which digitization tools to consider based on item type, please see this post: Considering Museum Digitization Tools by Item Type. Or, check out my webinar: How to Choose the Right Tools for Museum Digital Projects.

Q. Are there grants that help fun purchasing equipment or a CMS?

Yes! There are several grant options at the local, state, and national level in both the US and Canada. Check out the Lucidea Grants Directory to explore our database on US and CA national-level opportunities.

United States

In addition to local and regional opportunities that can be found with your state’s heritage office, the following state-level opportunities are available:

There are several federal funders available for museums to consider: 

  • Institute of Museum and Library Services: Accelerating Promising Practices
  • National Endowment for the Humanities:
  • Digital Projects for the Public
  • Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
  • Infrastructure and Capacity
  • National Historical Publications and Records Commission

These federal agencies each have multiple grant opportunities they oversee.

Canada

  • Regeneration Works includes entries from corporate, foundation, and government agencies. Additionally, the database includes opportunities at the national, provincial/territorial, and regional level. 
  • Government of Canada’s funding page for “culture, history, and sport” currently has 43 offerings.

Tip: A great way to stay updated regarding each of these agencies—and the funding opportunities they offer—is to sign up for their e-newsletter.

For more funding inspiration please read my posts Who Funds Museum Digital Projects?, How to Construct a Fundable Museum Digital Project, and How to Win Museum Grant Funding for “Boring” Projects available via Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog. And, check out How to Fund Your Next Museum Digital Project webinar for more funding strategies.

Conclusion

Budgeting and applying for funding can be an intimidating part of museum digital project work, especially when digital projects can be quite expensive. However, the more you know about how to budget, how to accurately calculate the cost of the work, and where to find funding resources—the more successful you’ll be in moving your museum’s digital program forward.

Rachael Cristine Woody

Rachael Cristine Woody

Consultant, author, and blogger Rachael Cristine Woody advises on museum strategies, collections management and grant writing for a wide variety of clients. Learn about Lucidea’s Argus solution for museum collections management and digitization and read more of Rachael’s blog posts here.

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