COVID-19 Pandemic Resources for History Organizations | Wisconsin Historical Society

Guide or Instruction

COVID-19 Pandemic Resources for Museums, Historical Societies, and Cultural Institutions

COVID-19 Pandemic Resources for History Organizations | Wisconsin Historical Society

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our work and personal lives in unprecedented ways. Here is a list of resources compiled from various organizations and partners. We look forward to the time when museums, historic sites, and archives are able to reopen and welcome visitors. Be safe and be well!

Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society is actively documenting the impact of COVID-19 on Wisconsin and the world. Our tradition of balancing the collection of artifacts and material with personal experiences is a critical part of this process. To learn more about the COVID-19 Journal Project and how you can participate, click here.

For history groups organizing collecting initiatives locally, we hope to collaborate in the future on a digital project that brings together the Society's COVID-19 Journal Project with materials collected by other historical institutions to tell an even larger story. Learn more here.

From March 31 through April 15, 2020, the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Federation of Museums partnered to survey their affiliates and members about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wisconsin's museums, historical societies, and collecting organizations. Aggregated and summarized responses to the COVID-19 Local History Impact Survey may be found in the final report, linked here. For more information on the survey, please contact Janet Seymour at the Wisconsin Historical Society at or Greg Vadney at the Wisconsin Federation of Museums at

The Wisconsin Historical Society's Local History Outreach Team has also hosted the following webinars:

Financial Impact Resources

NEW! The Wisconsin Humanities Council has announced two new rounds of funding. Wisconsin Humanities Recovery Grants help our state prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the pandemic. Funding for these grants is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Deadlines are July 19 and October 15, 2021. Applications will open in the grant portal on June 18 and September 15, 2021. Learn more here.

View the American Alliance of Museums' free webinar Museums and Cultural Institutions: Framing the Impact of COVID-19 Relief for an outline of actions that museums and cultural institutions can take to continue serving the community, preserving value, and protecting their workers.

Visit the National Countil of Nonprofits to learn about the types of loans available to non-profits thorugh CARES Act funding.

Visit Independent Sector for information on how to apply for nonprofit relief funds.

Governor Evers has announced the Cultural Organization Grant Program for music, visual art, live performances, and other cultural organizations. Applications are due September 30. 

Other Funding

On April 6, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced the first of a number of critical measures to aid museums, libraries, and communities across the nation in response to COVID-19. The new guidelines outline how institutions with open IMLS grants may adapt their existing fund balances to address immediate needs and extend timelines for their work to accommodate the disruption caused by coronavirus. Additionally, on March 27, the CARES Act allocated $50 million in funding for IMLS to address the COVID-related digital divide. More information on the availability of these funds will be forthcoming. For the latest information, subscribe to IMLS News or click here.

The Otto Bremer Trust, one of Minnesota’s largest charitable organizations, announced the creation of a $50 million emergency fund to be set up through its Community Benefit Financial Company subsidiary to provide financial support to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana nonprofits and other community organizations. The new fund will provide emergency funding, loans, lines of credit, and other financial resources to organizations impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resources on Reopening

As history organizations around the state plan for the eventual reopening of sites to the public, the following resources may provide helpful information. Organizations should follow the guidance of public health officials and local and state government agencies. Some of the resources we are posting are state guidelines, like those from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Wisconsin Historical Society:

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Guidelines:

AASLH webinars:

Other resources:

American Association for State and Local History

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) offers a variety of resources to assist local history organizations during this time. Click here to explore blog posts, webinars and resources, and links to external resources.

AASLH webinars:

American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums website offers a full directory of resources for museums affected by the COVID-19 pandemic here. These include:

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training has created a brief on Cultural Resources and COVID-19 and offers several instructional videos. These include:

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has assembled a collection of resources for historic places. Additionally, they are offering the following webinars:

Collections Care

Selected resources on collections care:

Learn More

Have Questions?


Janet Seymour
c/o University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
105 Garfield Avenue, Hibbard 728
Eau Claire, WI 54701-4004
Phone: 715-836-2250