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Frequently Asked Questions of the Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB)

Mahala Ruddell

The Utah State Historical Records Advisory Board (USHRAB) is currently accepting applications for grant funding. Optional, but strongly encouraged, draft deadline is May 1, 2020. Final deadline is June 4, 2020. Have questions about the re-grant program? Browse through these FAQs and feel free to reach out to us.

Project proposals:

Can we use USHRAB funds to …?

Hire an intern/student worker/project archivist?

Yes. You may hire someone to work on your project using USHRAB funding, but it is important to ensure that the work they’ll be doing falls within the scope of your proposed project. You should make sure to consider, and outline in your application: the wage you’ll be paying your new hire; what kind of expertise you’ll be searching for in prospective applicants as well as where you’ll be recruiting them from; what standards they’ll be following as they work on the project; the hiring and project timelines; and more.

Digitize or re-house artwork?

No. Unfortunately artwork, even art on paper, is not considered archival material and therefore does not qualify for grant funds. Art museums may still apply for funding to process archival records in their care, including artists’ sketches, notebooks, and unfinished works as well as correspondence, business papers, diaries, and other records that are considered archival.

Create an exhibit?

Yes, provided that the exhibit is of archival materials and not museum objects, archaeological artifacts, or art; provided that the archival material exhibited is properly preserved; and provided that the exhibit is accessible to the public. The USHRAB requires that your institution have physical and intellectual control over the records you are exhibiting.

Buy books for our research library?

No. Unfortunately funds cannot be used for books, magazines, or other library materials.

Process records that are private or that we restrict access to?

No. The goal of the NHPRC and the USHRAB is to promote access to Utah’s historical records. You may not use grant funding to process or otherwise care for collections that are not publicly accessible through online portals, exhibit, regular opening hours, or a reasonable appointment schedule. 

Purchase records for our permanent collection?

No. Funds are meant to care for and provide access to historical records in your custody. Please negotiate custody and officially acquire the records you plan on working with prior to applying for funding to care for them.

More guidelines about what USHRAB funds can and cannot be used for have been outlined here. Generally speaking, the USHRAB will fund projects proposed by non-profit organizations and Utah’s state and local government entities. Projects should focus on the care and preservation of and access to records of historical and enduring value in the custody of the institution applying for the grant. Please see the guidelines for more information.

The application says we must have custody of the records we plan to work with using grant funding. What does this mean?

Before it will award grant funding for you to work on your project, the Board seeks assurance that the original records you plan on working with will be in your care long after your project has wrapped up. If you plan on using grant funding to preserve or provide access to historical records that are currently in the custody of another person or institution, please negotiate with that entity to ensure your institution has permanent custody by the time you start your work. This includes records that you plan on digitizing for preservation and/or access. Negotiating custody for the duration of the project (and then returning the original records) is not sufficient.

Can we digitize our records in-house?

You can put together a proposal that includes in-house digitization. However, please be aware that the Board prioritizes projects that partner with a Mountain West Digital Library digitization hub, primarily because that partnership guarantees that best practices will be adhered to at the highest degree. If you do not plan on partnering, make sure that your application indicates that you fully understand the work a digitization project requires. Describe, in detail, the standards and best practices you will be following, equipment you plan on using, digitization expertise in your staff and/or volunteers, physical condition of the original records, your plan for preserving digital master files, your plan to create and preserve metadata, your plans for preserving the original records after digitization, and your plan for providing access to the collection, as well as your timeline for the project and any other details that will help the Board understand your plan and be confident in your ability to carry it out.

How are successful projects selected?

Projects are approved or denied by majority vote at a Board meeting. When discussing the proposals, the Board weighs each application against a rubric. The rubric provides a framework with which Board members can analyze and determine numerical point values for each section of the application and structure their meeting discussions. Reviewing the rubric when filling out your application will help you understand what the Board is seeking in a successful project. Find the rubric here.

When will we hear whether or not our project has been awarded?

Applicants will be notified of the Board’s decision within 30 days of the application deadline. Decisions will come in the form of a letter signed by either the Board Chair or the Executive Secretary. Letters are attached as PDF files to emails that are sent from the Executive Secretary. Please ensure the contact information included in the application is up to date. If you do not receive an email within 30 days, please check your spam folder and contact the Executive Secretary.

Working on your project:

Can we extend our deadline?

Unfortunately the USHRAB cannot extend your grant deadline. Rules governing the management of the State Archives’ budget prevent us from carrying over funding from one fiscal year to the next. For this reason, your project must be complete by the end of the state’s fiscal year, which is in June. 

**Special note to recipients of 2019 grants (awarded in June or October of 2019): please contact Mahala Ruddell if you are seeking an extension for your project.**

We’ve encountered some unexpected costs. Can we adjust our award to receive more funds?

Simply put, no. The amount you are awarded is determined by the Board and outlined in your contract, which you will have signed before beginning work. This amount cannot be adjusted. However, there is room for flexibility in your anticipated spending and how you calculate your one-to-one match, so long as both fall within the guidelines established by Attachment B: Scope of Work, located in your contract. Please contact the Executive Secretary to explain your specific situation and discuss how best to move forward.

We finished our project! Now what?

Congratulations! Please fill out a final evaluation and summary report, time and expense sheets, and a request for reimbursement, all found here. For questions regarding how, please review your contract and the grant guidelines. Once your forms have been received, your reimbursement request will be forwarded to the State’s Division of Finance who will mail you a check.

But that’s not all! Board Executive Secretary, Mahala Ruddell, will be in touch with you about the possibility of using your project for promotional purposes in blogs and social media posts published by the State Archives (examples here, here, and here). Successful applicants are also required to promote their projects on their own. This could be in the form of press releases, social media or blog posts, featured newspaper articles, public events such as lectures, curated online exhibits, and more. You must acknowledge the USHRAB, the State Archives, and the NHPRC in your promotion. Get creative! And let us know what your plans are! We’re happy to help you publicize them.