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CCAHA's Preservation Needs Assessment Program

  • March 16, 2018

CCAHA is seeking applicants for its Preservation Needs Assessment Program. Through funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), CCAHA is able to offer a limited number of subsidized preservation needs assessments. Awarded institutions will pay a total of just $350 for services valued at over $5,000.  

A preservation needs assessment is a key first step in the process of caring for collections. In addition to pinpointing areas of concern, the preservation needs assessment is widely recognized as a valuable tool in fundraising. Many funders strongly recommend that potential applicants cite the findings of these assessments within their grant applications for conservation and preservation projects.

The preservation needs assessment process encompasses a general evaluation of the institution's preservation needs for their collections, including:

  • preservation planning and policy development
  • collections management
  • environment (temperature, relative humidity, pollution, and light)
  • housekeeping
  • pest control
  • fire protection, security, and disaster preparedness
  • collection storage, handling, exhibition, and treatment  

Institutions selected to participate in CCAHA's competitive Preservation Needs Assessment Program will receive a site visit from a CCAHA preservation expert consisting of a review of the site, an examination of the collections, and interviews with relevant staff. The CCAHA assessor will spend one full day on-site at the institution. The institution will also receive a written report providing observations, recommendations, and resources to serve as a guide in the development of a comprehensive preservation plan for the collections. The report can become a valuable tool for institutional strategic planning and fundraising. 

The institution pays a total of just $350 for services valued at over $5,000. There are no additional fees for travel, supplies, etc.



Collections should: 

  • be largely paper-based
  • be related to the humanities
  • be available to the public on a regularly scheduled basis
  • have national and regional significance

The institution should demonstrate a strong commitment to collections care.

The size of the institution’s paper-based collection must warrant a full-day survey. 

Federal institutions are not eligible.


Application Process and Deadline

Download instructions: 

  • Click the link below to complete the pre-download form.
  • Once you have submitted this form, links to the PDF form and Microsoft Word document of the application will appear.
  • Click these links to open the files, then save them to your computer.

Please note: Applicants with Adobe Acrobat Professional installed on their computers will be able to type in their answers in the fields of the application PDF and save the document after making any changes. Applicants who do not have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed should complete the application as a Microsoft Word document (as answers typed into the PDF form cannot be saved without Adobe Acrobat Professional).

Please contact Preservation Services at if you have any trouble downloading or filling out the application.


Click here to complete the pre-download form and download the application.


All applications must be emailed or postmarked by Friday, March 16, 2018.

If you have questions or want to discuss the suitability of this program for your institution: Please contact CCAHA’s Preservation Services Office at 215.545.0613 or