Local and specialized libraries, genealogical and historical societies, and avid genealogists are almost always long on projects and short on money. One way to fund your mission is to apply for grants from government agencies and private foundations. The money is out there but it takes work to find it. Once you find the money, writing the grant will also take a lot of work but if you win, it is well worth the effort.

For example, one library we worked with received over $13,000 in matching funds to preserve, through microfilming, its collection of official city records from the 1865-1970. The project also included digitization to make the newspapers accessible 24/7 via the Internet. This particular project was funded through the State of Iowa’s Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) grant over the course of several years.

Almost every state has a State Historical Society or similar agency that offers grants, assistance, guidelines and records management funding to preserve historical, valuable and rare documents. Preservation grants are available for many different groups and organizations including:

Nonprofit corporations

Governmental units

Traditional tribal societies and governments of recognized resident American Indian tribes


Private corporations and businesses

When it comes to document preservation grants for microfilm conversion projects, grantors often have stringent requirements to ensure the work is performed successfully. For instance, in Iowa the HRDP grants for microfilm (in part) have requirements like these:

The State Historical Society requires very specific microfilming standards. If microfilming is included as a component of a project, then the project must produce first (S-) and second generation (S-) masters on silver halide film meeting American National Standards Institute (ANSI) PH 1.41 (preferred) or ANSI PH 1.28. Production procedures are to be guided by American National Standards Institute/Association for Information and Image Management (ANSI/AIIM) MS 23 or other relevant standards, such as ANSI/AIIM MS 5 for microfiche. Storage for first generation camera masters must be in accordance with ANSI PH 1.43. Film enclosures must adhere to ANSI PH 1.53.

It will be critical to your success to make sure you are aware of all of the grant requirements for a microfilm preservation and conversion project. The requirements and guidelines are subject to change based on the grantor’s organization. Grants are offered and applications accepted all year round. To find out what grants are available, you can research the topic online in your area, use professional association resources or even join relevant groups on LinkedIn to compare notes with other like-minded professionals.

At Advantage Companies, we specialize in converting archival records, including microfilm and microfiche records, to a digital format. Our quality and service makes us stand out from the competition. But don’t take our word for it. We would be happy to scan one roll of 35mm microfilm for FREE and turn it into a searchable website for your review. Your film will be returned to you in perfect condition, all at absolutely no cost or obligation to you. Register today for this FREE service and one of our representatives will contact you shortly.