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Department of Cultural Resources
ARTS Conservation License Plate Grant
Deadline: April 25, 2014Moose plate

Grant Coordinator: Julianne Morse
(603) 271-0791


These FY15 Grant Guidelines are valid for fiscal year July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

Revenues generated by New Hampshire’s Conservation License Plates, often called “Moose Plates,” help to promote, conserve, and protect New Hampshire's natural, cultural, and historic resources. Since 2001, the Conservation License Plate program has contributed to the success of many important projects around New Hampshire, helping to preserve the historic character of our state.

The NH Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) receives a percentage of the funds raised from the sales of Conservation License Plates. These funds are directed back into communities through grant programs facilitated by the Department’s three divisions. Interested applicants should apply for funding from the Division whose criteria and eligibility requirements best match their project activities. 

ARTS Conservation License Plate grants fund the conservation of publicly owned artworks, artistic elements of publicly owned facilities that serve as sites for arts programming, projects that improve public access to historically significant artwork, and projects that make historic cultural facilities and the arts programming that takes place in them more accessible to the public.

Guidelines for the other DCR Divisions can be found at:

  • New Hampshire State Library - for the conservation of historic documents
  • New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources - for the conservation of historic artifacts and properties

To learn more about New Hampshire’s Conservation License Plate program, click here.

In any given fiscal year, an organization can only apply to ONE Department of Cultural Resources Division for a single project. A project is defined as all the work occurring within a site or building. Organizations many not submit applications to multiple DCR Divisions for several “sub-projects” that may be occurring within the same site or building in the same fiscal year. For example: a historic building undergoing restoration cannot apply for funds for stained glass window restoration from the State Arts Council, a grant to repair the roof from the Division of Historical Resources, and a grant to conserve documents of the building’s history from the State Library.

Grant Amount
Requests may be made for $2,000 - $20,000. No match is required.

Important Note: All grant categories and amounts are subject to change, depending upon availability of funds for any fiscal year.

Who May Apply
New Hampshire municipalities and towns, county agencies, state agencies (other than the Department of Cultural Resources and its Divisions), federal agencies, or nonprofit organizations that manage publicly owned historic cultural facilities, arts documents or artworks that contribute to the state's cultural heritage that:

  • Have submitted all required reports on past State Arts Council grants.
  • Are in “Good Standing” with the State Arts Council and the NH Attorney General’s Office.

This grant does not support:

  • Engineering studies or reports. Note: NH Land and Community Investment Program (LCHIP) has grants for these types of reports.
  • Projects that are receiving other Conservation License Plate grant funds.
  • Projects that are receiving other State Arts Council grant funds.
  • More than one application per applicant during the grant period (July 1 - June 30).

Eligible Projects

  • Projects that conserve publicly owned artworks that contribute to New Hampshire's cultural heritage. Artwork can be located inside and outside the facility and include historic paintings, photographs, theater curtains, and sculpture. For information on contacting conservators, click here.
  • Projects that maintain or conserve artistic elements of publicly owned cultural facilities including historic murals, stenciling, stained glass windows, light fixtures, weathervanes, ornamental plaster work, wood paneling, moldings & trim work, ornamental hardware (e.g. hand wrought iron hinges, latches, etc.), or specialized flooring (e.g. tile mosaics, inlay or parquet hardwood, etc.).  Conservation or replacement of historic elements such as wrought iron hinges, flooring, light fixtures, paneling, etc. should be accomplished by professional conservators and/or traditional craftsmen/artisans who have proven expertise in this work. Replacement with commercially mass-produced and available products is not eligible for this funding. For information on locating potential contractors, craftsmen, artisans, etc., click here.
  • Projects that improve public access to historically significant artwork or arts documents, while protecting and preserving the originals.
  • Projects that make historic cultural facilities and the arts programming that takes place in them more accessible to the public, including people with disabilities (e.g. ramps, lighting, elevators, etc.). Note: The explanation of how these improvements make the arts programming more accessible must be clearly stated.

Sample Projects

  • Conservation cleaning and treatment for a Civil War memorial in a national historic site located in New Hampshire.
  • Conservation and exhibition of 19th century White Mountain School oil paintings and pencil sketches owned by a town library.
  • Purchase of archival materials to store a collection of historic recordings of a contra dance caller from the 1940s donated to a state college or university archives.
  • Restoration of an organ in a town-owned historic property that enables it to be played for public performances.
  • Preservation of original hand-painted stage curtains or scenery designed in the early 20th century for local opera houses or town halls.
  • Restoration of a historic mural painted by a WPA artist in a U.S. post office located in New Hampshire.
  • UV coating of windows to protect against damage from ultraviolet light on decorative textile arts exhibited in an historic property.
  • Restoration of wood paneling and historic door hinges on a town hall where contra dances and community-based exhibits are held.

Note: Historic preservation building projects may not be submitted to the Arts Division unless the purpose of the preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of a building is to improve public access to arts programming or to improve the presentation of arts programming. For historic preservation projects that do not include arts programming please consider the Division of Historical Resources grants.

For purposes of this grant:

  • Historic - facility, arts documents, or artworks 50 or more years old.
  • Cultural facilities – publicly-owned buildings that regularly provide or plan to regularly provide arts programming, defined broadly as events that feature performances of music and/or dance; arts-based exhibits (visual arts & crafts); arts-based workshops; community theater productions, or arts-based lectures.
  • Arts documents – publicly-owned artist(s’) or arts organization's papers, photographs, or recordings. Arts documents include original manuscripts by choreographers, authors, or composers; original business papers and photographs that document an artist's work; or recordings of performances.
  • Artwork - refers to publicly-owned original tangible artworks; not reproductions.
  • Visual arts conservation – the conservation of paintings, murals or mosaics that are applied directly to facility interiors or exteriors; sculpture (freestanding and relief); decorative arts (crafts in fiber, clay, wood, stone, metal); and graphic arts such as etchings, engravings, woodcuts, wood engravings, silk screens, drawings, or photographs.
  • Performing arts conservation - the conservation of hand-crafted musical instruments; stage backdrops or painted curtains; and other items that enhance music, dance, or theatre performances.
  • Publicly-owned - artwork, facilities, or documents that are owned by a municipality or a town; county agency, state agency (other than the Department of Cultural Resources and its Divisions), or a federal agency.

For Facility Applicants:

Determination of Eligibility for the National or State Register of Historic Places
In order to assure expenditures from this dedicated fund are directed to structures that are indeed historic, the authorizing legislation for Conservation License Plates,  NH RSA 261:97-c, I(a), requires any publicly owned buildings over 50 years old and receiving Conservation License Plate funds for restoration to have gone through the process to determine the facility's eligibility for the State or National Registers of Historic Places. Therefore applicants are urged to contact the Division of Historical Resources for Determination of Eligibility forms and plan sufficient time for review prior to the application deadline. In order to receive funding, the property must be determined eligible for the register. However, it does not have to be listed. Typically, the applicant will receive a determination of eligibility 4-6 weeks after the Division of Historical Resources receives the completed forms.

Arts Division Conservation License Plate Grants for facility projects will not be paid until the Determination of Eligibility process is complete and the plans for the facility have been reviewed by the Division of Historical Resources.

Applicants for projects to improve cultural facilities that have been determined eligible for the Register of Historic Places must submit any plans for facility projects to the Division for Historical Resources for review prior to implementing those plans.

Division of Historical Resources
19 Pillsbury St.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3558 or -3483
TDD/TTY 1-800-735-2964

Important Note: Please include in your Conservation License Plate-ARTS Grant application packet copies of any correspondence with the Division of Historical Resources.

Application Review Process
A panel with expertise in conservation and preservation meets to review and rank applications according to the funding criteria listed below. Whenever possible a State Arts Councilor facilitates the meeting. The panel's recommendations are then forwarded to a committee that includes the Department of Cultural Resources Commissioner and Division Directors for review and approval. Funded projects will be included in the Department's annual report to the State Legislature on distribution of these funds. If a grant of $5,000 or more is recommended, or the applicant’s cumulative total of grants received from the State Arts Council for that fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) is $5,000 or more, the grant recommendation also must be submitted to the Governor and Executive Council for final approval.

Funding Criteria

Artistic and Historical Significance of Conservation Project

  • Significance of artwork, arts documents, and/or cultural facility to New Hampshire's cultural heritage.
  • Artistic/architectural quality of artwork/facility elements to be conserved/preserved.

Public Benefit

  • Degree to which the facility or artwork is imminently threatened by damage, as well as the nature of that threat.
  • Degree to which the project will preserve the facility, documents, or artwork for public use and benefit.
  • Degree to which the historic building is used or has the potential for use as a cultural facility.
  • For cultural facilities: Evidence of ADA compliance.

Quality of Project

  • Quality of the project design.
  • Quality of consultants or conservation professionals, craftsmen, etc.
  • Realistic budget and timetable for project.
  • Administrative capacity to plan, implement and complete the project.

How to Apply

Before Submission:Applicants are encouraged discuss their proposals with the appropriate grant coordinator whose name appears above before writing their applications. Draft applications may be reviewed if submitted at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline. First time applicants are especially encouraged to submit draft copies.

Applicants also should review the legal and reporting requirements relevant to State Arts Council grants.

When sending in a draft, please clearly indicate DRAFT FOR REVIEW in BOLD letters on your submission.

Submitting the application:

Don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader®? Click here to download for free!

Narrative Questions
The total narrative portion of the application should not exceed 4 typed pages. Margins (not less than 1), fonts (not smaller than 12 point), and spacing should provide easy reading for the panelists. Please number and respond to the following questions in the order in which they appear noting the section titles in bold.

1. Verification of public ownership: Cultural Conservation License Plate grants are for the conservation of publicly owned artwork(s) and cultural facilities. Please clearly indicate that the artwork(s) or facility is publicly owned. If the applicant is not the owner, attach a letter explaining the relationship between the owner and the applicant and the authority under which the applicant will be the grantee of record to undertake preservation work on the facility or artwork. The letter must be on the owner’s letterhead and state that the item is publicly owned, expected to be kept in the public trust in perpetuity and be signed by the owner's authorizing official.

2. Reason for undertaking the project: Please respond to either or both of the situations below as appropriate. Keep in mind that some of the panelists will not be familiar with your artwork or cultural facility and its significance to the state's cultural heritage. Include specific detail on the public benefit this project will bring to New Hampshire citizens.

  • For conservation projects: Briefly describe the historical and artistic significance of the artwork(s) and/or the artistic elements of the cultural facility that will be conserved through this project. Discuss the resource's current condition, the nature of the threat, and the proposed preservation and/or conservation work. What are the proposed conservation methods and why are they in keeping with sound conservation practice? For projects involving conservation of artistic elements of the building, discuss the qualifications of the traditional craftsmen/artisans that will be conserving, repairing or replacing the work and the types of arts programming that typically take place in the building.
  • For projects that will improve public accessibility: Describe how the project will improve accessibility while maintaining its historic/artistic integrity. If applicable, describe the types of arts programming that typically take place in your facility.

3. How you will accomplish this project: Please be specific about the design and plan for the project. Include a clear project timetable. Note the names and qualifications of the project team and specialists who will be working on the project such as staff or board administrators/coordinators, architects, conservators, builders, craftsmen, suppliers, etc. Include information on how they are selected. Enclose a copy of at least two bids for the project or a justification for a single bid (see Required Support Materials section below).

4. Sustained public benefit: After this project is completed, how will the resource be cared for and made accessible to the public in the future? Note: If you have a plan for continued care of the artwork or facility that will reduce the nature of future threats or damage, include it with your application packet or in your narrative.

Required Support Materials
6 copies each of:

  • The letter of public ownership, if the applicant is not the owner of the artwork(s) or facility.
  • Images of the facility or conservation project to be funded; a minimum of four 4" x 6", or larger, black and white or color images. Two must be general views of the historic facility or artwork and the other two must document the threat or damage. Please see requirements for digital images.
  • A one-page professional biography or resume of the project director.
  • Resumes of conservation professionals, consultants, and/or background on the traditional craftsmen/artisans to be engaged with a listing of successfully executed projects similar in content and scope.
  • Two bids on the proposed project or a justification for a single bid. Please include plans and specifications, if applicable.
  • If the applicant is a nonprofit organization, an income/expense report that covers the project dates.

One copy of:

  • First time applicants that are nonprofit organizations ONLY: Tax exempt status letter from the IRS and a copy of the Letter of Good Standing that was received upon registering with the Attorney General's office.
  • Photos, audiovisual materials, programs, or brochures that show the organization’s artistic programming. See Preparation of Work Samples for instructions on preparing work samples/support materials.

NOTE: Registration of IRS 501 (c) (3) nonprofits is required every five years, for the years ending in 0 or 5. This registration may be done on-line at

For Facility Applicants Only
6 copies each (unless otherwise noted) of:

  • List of current board members.
  • Facility plan of at least three years in scope, including immediate and long-term building maintenance.
  • A historic structures report or building assessment report (if available).
  • One copy of Correspondence with the Division of Historical Resources concerning eligibility for the National or State Register of Historic Places.

How to Prepare the Application Package
1. Fill out and sign the original application/budget form and make 5 copies.
2. Answer the narrative questions and make 5 copies.
3. Collate the original signed application/budget form and narrative with the copies, along with the bids and appropriate support materials, resulting in 6 sets.
4. Include one copy of your correspondence with the Division of Historical Resources concerning your eligibility for the National or State Register. (if applicable)
5. For first time nonprofit organization applicants, add one copy of the IRS letter to the original application.
6. Do not use binders or folders for the 6 separate sets of collated materials. Staples and clips are acceptable. Separate large envelopes may be used to contain the collated supporting materials. It is helpful if you use post-it notes or label the application cover sheets to indicate original, set 1, 2, 3, etc.
7. Make one copy of everything for your own files!
8. Put everything together in one package and mail or hand-deliver to: NH State Council on the Arts, 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301.

Why all these copies?
The originals are for the State Arts Council's files. Additional copies are for each panelist who will read your application prior to discussion at the panel meeting.

Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the State Arts Council's office at 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301 by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date noted above. Office hours are Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; closed all state and most federal holidays. Late applications will not be accepted. The Council cannot accept applications transmitted by facsimile (FAX) or email. The State Arts Council is not responsible for applications lost in transit. Please note that errors and omissions in your application may affect a panel's evaluation of your application; so please prepare your application carefully and follow instructions.

Applicants will be notified on the status of their application after the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1).

The NHSCA disburses funds appropriated from public sources, both federal and state. Checks are issued by Administrative Services of the State of NH, not the Department of Cultural Resources or the State Arts Council. Upon receipt of properly executed grants forms, the State of New Hampshire generally pays grants under $5,000 to grantees within 4 to 6 weeks. If a grantee is awarded $5,000 or more or has received other State Arts Council funds that brings the cumulative total received within the state’s fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) to $5,000 or above, grants need to be approved by Governor and Executive Council; consequently, payment can take up to 10 weeks. All awards are subject to availability of state and federal funds. Therefore, we ask grantees to plan cash flow accordingly.

Grants for facility projects will not be paid until the Determination of Eligibility process is complete and the plans for the facility have been reviewed by the Division of Historical Resources.


  • All grant agreements must be returned by January 15th of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) they are awarded. Failure to return the grant agreement by that date may result in cancellation of the grant and reallocation of funds.
  • Payment of a grant will be withheld if final reports for previous grants are not in compliance with policy below.

Grant Period & Reporting Requirements
The grant period for ARTS Conservation License Plate Grants is July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015. A final report is due 30 days after the completion of your project, but no later than July 31, 2015. An extension of up to three months may be requested. The request for extension must be made, in writing, before the deadline for filing has passed and submitted to the grant coordinator responsible for administering the grant. The request for extension should briefly state why the extension is necessary and the date the report will be submitted. Failure to submit the final report by the required or extended date will result in the organization becoming ineligible to apply for NHSCA funding for two years. Additionally, failure to submit the final report may result in a withholding of funds from any currently awarded NHSCA grant.

Click here for the Final Report Download Center.





Last updated: January 27, 2014

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