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The Diversity in Local History (DLH) grant program was funded by the Washington State Legislature to offer paid internships that support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives at heritage organizations across the state.

Through a competitive process, the Washington State Historical Society will provide grants up to $15,000 for projects that will partner emerging professionals in the heritage sector with local history museums and historical societies. The program will enable organizations to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into their practices, and promote a long-term focus on inclusive history practices. The goal of this program is to support efforts to address institutional bias and implement new practices that aim to ensure collections, public programs, and internal policies serve all members of the community and advance inclusive history.

Grants will be distributed on a reimbursement basis only, meaning organizations must have sufficient funds on hand to pay the interns regularly and must provide documentation of that payment before receiving grant dollars. No match is required for this grant.

The Diversity in Local History Grants are open to all heritage organizations in Washington State, regardless of an existing track record of commitment to DEI work. WSHS recognizes that achieving equity is essential to the long-term health of the statewide heritage sector and seeks to support heritage organizations in moving forward with DEI work, from any starting point.

Thank you for your interest in this exciting new program.

Questions? Email our DEI Specialist, Andre Jimenez, at andre.jimenez@wshs.wa.gov.

Timeline and Important Dates

August 26, 2021 Grant application opens
September 16, 2021 Grant workshop (workshop recording, workshop slides)
October 5, 2021 Grant applications due
November 2, 2021 Grants awards announced and descriptions posted in the Heritage Portal
November 9 & 16, 2021 Project overview workshops (register here)
November 29, 2021 Priority deadline for intern submissions (submissions received through Heritage Portal will be sent to granted organizations on this date)

(Submissions received after November 29 will continue to be sent to organizations on a rolling basis until all organizations have selected an intern for their project.)
December 2021 Grantee contracting (organizations should select their intern by Monday, December 6, 2021 to expect contract execution before January 1, 2022)
January - June 2022 Project work and monitoring
June 30, 2022 Grant projects completed, final reports submitted

Program Guidelines

The Diversity in Local History grant program will be in two phases:

  1. Heritage organizations will submit applications with their proposed DEI-based projects.
  2. Interns apply directly to organizations based on their interest in the awarded projects.

All prospective organization and intern applicants should carefully read the full program guidelines document before applying. The guidelines outline both the organization and intern phases of the application process and details program eligibility, criteria, and stipulations. Applicants are encouraged to view the workshop recording (link in the timeline) for further information about the program and expectations.

Download Guidelines (PDF)


Awarded Projects

The first grants were approved in October 2021 for projects beginning in January 2022. The 11 local heritage organizations who have been awarded DLH funds in WSHS’s inaugural grant cycle, and their accompanying internship project summaries, include the following:

  • Jefferson County Historical Society, Port Townsend, WA, 500 hours to audit collections for underrepresented and missing stories, biased descriptive language, and misidentified items. This work will guide the development of a collecting plan that will ensure diverse and inclusive collections.
  • Highline Heritage Museum, Burien, WA, 500 hours to assist in the planning and production of a year-long series of community-partnered events that highlight the history, heritage, and contemporary social justice issues of Highline’s diverse residents.
  • Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum, Olympia, WA, 500 hours to develop a community outreach strategy and plan for reaching diverse communities in Olympia with the goal of developing partnered projects and programs. This work will include three or more partnered demonstration projects or programs.
  • Everett Museum of History, Everett, WA, 440 hours to assist in writing DEI policies which will be integrated into the organization’s strategic plan and support the creation of policies for programs, governance, human resources, and operations. This project will also include designing a prototype for exhibits which incorporates the expectation of diversity and inclusion.
  • The Holocaust Center for Humanity, Seattle, WA, 360 hours to develop a DEI Inreach and Implementation Plan. This plan will establish inward-facing, mission-focused DEI goals. The project’s purpose is to help sustainably center the organizational culture around equity to advance DEI in future educational work.
  • Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, Wenatchee, WA, 360 hours to work with Wenatchee’s Latinx community to gather stories, images, and objects that help the Museum share a holistic view of the community.
  • City of Lacey Museum, Lacey, WA, 312 hours to complete an interpretive marker related to local Black activists Thelma and Nat Jackson. As time allows, the intern will also conduct collections auditing related to Black history in Lacey and the surrounding areas.
  • Neely Mansion Association, Auburn, WA, 240 hours to consult with the Muckleshoot Tribe to plan, research, design and fabricate a new exhibit for the Neely Mansion. As time allows, the intern will also assist in brainstorming future activities, events, or other opportunities to partner with the tribe.
  • Southwest Seattle Historical Society, Seattle, WA, 192 hours to support the research and development of a new exhibit exploring the intersection between Chinese immigrants and white landowners in the Freeport/Milton (now Delridge) neighborhood of West Seattle in the late 19th century.
  • Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Seattle, WA, 160 hours to conduct DEI-focused outreach for the Youth Heritage Project (YHP) with the goal of increasing the racial, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity of student-participants for the July 2022 YHP. This work will broaden the diversity of perspectives among the next generation of our state’s stewards of historic places.
  • Franklin County Historical Society, Pasco, WA, 500 hours to audit collections for underrepresented and missing Latinx stories and develop a collecting plan to ensure inclusive collecting practices in the future. The intern will also curate objects from the existing collection that reflect the Latinx community and create interpretive displays, both physical and digital.

Application

Organizations

Organization applications were due October 5, 2021 and are now CLOSED.

Interns

How: Prospective interns may reach out to organization(s) individually about a specific project or upload their materials to the Washington State Heritage Portal to indicate interest in one or multiple available projects.

  • Please Note: Each heritage organization is responsible for contacting their preferred intern applicant to make an offer of employment and the project organization is the sole employer of participating interns.

When: The intern submission form in the Heritage Portal is currently open with a priority deadline of November 29, 2021, at which point all submissions received will be sent to the organizations identified by the interns. After November 29, submissions will continue to be sent to organizations on a rolling basis until all organizations have selected an intern for their project.

Heritage Portal: On the submission form, interns will see descriptions of all 11 projects and will specify interest in one or more projects by selecting “yes” or “no.” Intern materials will only be forwarded to those project organizations for which they select “yes,” meaning project organizations will only receive materials from applicants who indicate interest in their particular project. Click the link below to get started!

Heritage Portal

(Please be aware that it can take 2-3 business days to create a portal account.)


Internship Workshop

Walk through all the projects and the application with DEI Specialist, Andre Jimenez, and hear from three granted organizations about their projects:



Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply for this program?

Eligible organization applicants include nonprofits, tribal organizations, and local governmental entities in Washington State who have a mission to preserve and interpret history and heritage for the general public.

Eligible intern applicants must be:

a.) currently enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education in Washington State, or
b.) have graduated within the last two years from an accredited institution of higher education and be currently residing in Washington State.

Both undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply. Prospective interns should have an academic area of focus in a field related to history or humanities topics. (See guidelines for more information.)

What kinds of projects will be funded?

Proposals must support the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into an organization’s operations and promote a long-term focus on inclusive history practices.

Projects may be based in any aspect of a heritage organization’s functions, such as operations, exhibits, archives, or community engagement. Potential eligible project ideas might include:

  • Completing an organizational DEI assessment
  • Creating DEI policies and a public statement of commitment to equitable practices
  • Researching an organization’s history to better understand its relationship to marginalized groups in the past and plan for future inclusivity
  • Adapting current exhibits/programs to be more accessible to all audiences
  • Completing a collections audit to see what stories and histories are missing
  • Consulting with local Tribal nations to learn about and better interpret shared history
  • Beginning or increasing efforts toward researching or collecting stories from underrepresented groups in a community
  • Creating an exhibit or public program that builds on the diverse histories/stories an organization has begun researching and collecting

How much grant funding can an organization ask for?

The maximum grant request for projects involving one intern is $7,500 and the maximum grant request for projects involving two interns is $15,000.

Grant requests will be based on the number of project hours proposed for the intern(s) who must be paid at a rate of at least $18/hour. Travel and lodging expenses are not eligible expenses for grant funds.

Grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis only. Grantees must have sufficient funds on hand to pay interns at least twice per month throughout the project and grant funds will only be dispersed upon the grantee’s submittal of documentation of payment to the intern(s).

No match is required for this grant.

How will the grant applications be reviewed/scored?

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Degree to which the proposed project improves the diversity of the historical narrative of the applicant organization and/or helps bring DEI concepts and practices to applicant operations
  • Degree to which the proposed project will broaden the applicant organization’s audience, contribute to audience diversity, and leverage community engagement
  • Degree to which the proposed project promotes the long-term sustainability and stability of the applicant organization
  • Demonstration of the following:
    • Clearly identified project goals, outcomes, and deliverables
    • Commitment of organization to DEI work and ability of organization to leverage proposed project into future DEI planning and work
    • Adequate personnel, resources, and finances to support the project and intern
    • Realistic scope and timeframe of proposed project
  • Geographic distribution of funds
  • General quality and completeness of application

How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted through the Washington State Historical Society Heritage Portal, accessed at: washingtonhistory.org/heritageportal

  • Organizations must create an organizational profile in the portal. (Multiple individuals may be affiliated with one organization and edit a grant request within the portal.)
  • Intern applicants will create an individual login only.

After a portal account has been registered, that registration will be reviewed; then, users will receive a confirmation email and will be able to set their password and login information. Please note that it can take 2-3 business days to complete the registration process.

Once registration is complete, users will be able to apply for the Diversity in Local History grant through the portal dashboard.