Scholar in Residence Grants

The Scholar in Residence (SIR) program funds research that advances the interpretation and presentation of history by Massachusetts history organizations, based on research in the organization`s collections or mission purview. The program has a dual purpose: to provide organizations with expertise not usually available to them, and to encourage scholars to use the rich resources of the state’s history museums and historical societies. Priority is given to small organizations.

A SIR grant carries a maximum award of $3,500. SIR projects are set up collaboratively: scholar and project director agree on the research topic and materials to be used, and work together on the project. SIR grants are sometimes a useful stepping stone towards a project grant for an exhibit, the creation of a brochure or walking tour, or other public history event.  To get a sense of what kind of programming we support, we suggest a stroll through the Grants Awarded section.

In general, Mass Humanities prioritizes funding projects that engage those whose contact with humanities programming is limited (see our Engaging New Audiences initiative), and programming that responds to our current theme, Negotiating the Social Contract. Please contact Pleun Bouricius if you have questions about Mass Humanities’ strategic priorities, or would like to explore how to develop your proposal.

Essentials for Applicants

  • Mass Humanities accepts applications online. There are two parts to the SIR application process.
    • Submit an online Inquiry form (LOI) any time, at least four weeks prior to the application deadline.
    • When the LOI is approved to apply for funding, you will be notified by email and be given access to the full online application. Submit the full application by the application deadline.
  • Download and read the scholar in residence grant guidelines document before submitting an LOI. Full instructions on how to apply online can be found on page 6 of the guidelines or here.
  • Eligibility: Massachusetts museums, historical societies, or other organizations with historical collections and a record of presenting interpretive history programs to the public.
  • Project results must be made public: deposited in a public library or archive, made available online, or published in a readily available brochure.
  • Contact (413-584-8440 x106) if you have any questions.


Local History Grants – Research Inventory and Scholar in Residence
(Three Rounds Per Year)
Inquiry Form (LOI) Deadline Draft Deadline Application Deadline Approximate
October Round September 15, 2016 not required October 3, 2016 within 3 weeks
February Round January 17, 2017 not required February 1, 2017 within 3 weeks
June Round May 15, 2017 not required June 1, 2017 within 3 weeks

Grant Publicity Requirements, click here.