Project Expenses

The Constitutional Amendment and Legislative Appropriation language specifically state that grant funds may NOT be used to substitute for traditional funding sources your organization received in the past. The appropriation language also requires Minnesota Historical Society to administer the program under “existing grants mechanisms,” which means expenses considered ineligible under other Society grants programs are typically ineligible under the Minnesota Historical & Cultural Heritage Grants program.

What is Funded

Eligible costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Subjects that directly connect to Minnesota history or cultural heritage
  • Direct costs that are integral to completing the grant project (these must be justified in the grant application’s budget)
  • Equipment purchases directly needed to carry out project objectives (e.g., recording device for an oral history project)
  • Standard federal GSA rates for mileage and hotel. Per diem for meal costs are reimbursed at $11 breakfast, $12 lunch, and $23 dinner (2017 rates).  Out-of-state travel needs must be justified in the application.
  • See category descriptions for additional costs related to specific projects. All costs must be clearly listed and justified in the grant application.

What is NOT Funded

Any ineligible costs included in an application will be removed from consideration as part of the approved budget. Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Subjects that do not have direct connections to Minnesota history or cultural heritage
  • Tuition expenses
  • Work not meeting professional standards appropriate to the project category
  • Indirect costs (sometimes referred to as administrative or overhead costs)
  • General organizational operating costs
  • Maintenance or deferred maintenance expenses (e.g., painting, woodwork refinishing, or other small-scale upkeep work of an aesthetic nature)
  • Paying current full time staff (see Appendix D)
  • Equipment purchases except when necessary and reasonable to carry out project objectives
  • Expenditures incurred before the beginning date or after the ending date set for the project by the Minnesota Historical Society. These dates will be stated within the executed grant contract.
  • Project activities begun before the beginning date of the project, or completed after the end date of the project. These dates will be stated within the executed grant contracts.
  • Indirect cost rates or percentages, including those allowed under certain federal grants programs
  • Costs and projects related to compliance or mitigation with state and federal laws related to historic preservation (e.g., Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Minnesota Historic Sites Act, the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act, etc.)
  • Costs to prepare applications for the state and federal tax incentive programs
  • Funding for re-granting programs operated by an applicant or others. All projects awarded must directly benefit the public through the grantee, who is held responsible to the Minnesota Historical Society for the use of funds. Applicants should instead consider a cooperative project.
  • Grant writing and grant administration fees, including writing and submitting condition reports, milestones, and/or the final report
  • Any item not listed in the approved budget (unless written permission is received from Grants Office prior to expenditures)
  • Creation of new monuments, sculptures, murals, or other works of art
  • Projects to remodel or modernize the interior of historic properties, unless the cost is related to interior building systems (e.g., HVAC, electrical, or plumbing) or ADA accessibility routes or restrooms that make historical public spaces accessible to all (installing a ramp, elevator, lift, or accessible restroom)
  • Reproducing markers and other materials without revising texts for modern audiences 
  • Landscaping/site work costs, unless the project entails the preservation or restoration of a historic landscape, or the site work is an integral part of an archaeological investigation
  • Cost of moving a building, structure, or monument
  • Planning for and execution of new construction or additions to buildings
  • Conversion of materials into unacceptable Digital Data Formats
  • Excavation of archaeological sites for mitigation
  • Ongoing costs of internet hosting service
  • Ongoing program costs related to the grant project. These should be factored into the grantee’s long-term plan and budget for project sustainability.
  • Extended service warranties or ongoing annual service contracts
  • Development of web presence that serves only as a brochure or web-based store for the organization
  • Grant line items for work that occurs outside the grant period (for example, grant funds can’t pay retainers to hold consultants until a future phase)
  • Salvage oral history (interviewing all older people only for their random memories)
  • Royalties paid to authors from the sale of publications
  • Legal fees
  • Projects with scopes of work similar to those previously funded through MNHS grant programs, unless justification is provided and approved
  • Digitization of newspapers

vs 5.0

The Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants Program has been made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.