Grants for Digitization Projects: Wisconsin Humanities Council

On behalf of the Collaborative Digitization Work Group, Recollection Wisconsin is compiling information about grants available to public libraries for digitization projects, including this opportunity from the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council (WHC) supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin. The WHC believes that educational and cultural programs rooted in the humanities have a vital role to play in making our communities stronger. By talking and learning together, community members deepen their understanding and appreciation of who they are, and what they hope their lives, communities, and world can be.


Mini-Grants – Four deadlines each year: February 1, May 1, August 1, November 1

Major Grants – Three deadlines each year: April 15, August 15, December 15

Maximum amount

Mini-Grants - $2,000

Major Grants - $10,000

Match required: Yes, 1:1 match.

Further information

Primary webpage: 
Previously funded projects: 

Grant Program Director Meg Turville-Heitz welcomes inquiries – even to talk through ideas that haven’t yet taken much shape. She is also available to review draft grant applications (submitted at least four weeks prior to application deadline). Contact or (608) 265-5595.

Useful things to know

  • Expanding access to materials by putting them online is not enough -- projects must actively engage audiences and foster analysis, inquiry and/or reflection. One way to think about this humanities-based approach is to plan a project around a particular theme, such as a founding industry in your community and how it shaped, or continues to shape, community life. Every community has a unique story to tell – how can your project help tell that story? 
  • Projects should include a component that brings people together face-to-face to explore and share ideas, such as lectures, book discussions, tours, interactive games, or other public programming. For more on designing humanities-oriented public programming, see this WHC blog post from Amy Lutzke, Assistant Director, Dwight Foster Public Library, Fort Atkinson:
  • Projects are required to include at least one humanities expert as an advisor. WHC defines a humanities expert as someone with an M.A. or Ph.D. in a humanities discipline, e.g. Anthropology, Art History, Ethnic Studies, Folklore, History, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, Women’s Studies, etc. – or – someone who is “otherwise well-qualified to bring a humanities perspective to a project,” such as a museum curator or tribal elder. For tips on identifying humanities experts, see 
  • Grant funds cannot be used to purchase equipment or materials that will have a significant working life after the grant period – that means no scanners, archival storage supplies, etc. Outsourcing digitization to a vendor is an allowable cost.
  • Special considerations for digital humanities projects: “Digital humanities projects, such as online exhibits, can expand traditional definitions of “audience,” “public,” and “community engagement.” Applicants should thoughtfully consider and clearly describe the audiences for their projects and the nature and duration of the proposed public engagement. If, for example, a project proposes a website, applicants should describe plans to maintain the website.”
  • Grant proposals are reviewed by the WHC Board, made up of 25 volunteer members from across the state. 
  • Applications must be submitted by mail (no online submission option).

Sample application: Kewaunee Public Library, 2012