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Special Category Grants

About Special Category Grants 

The Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, provides state funds for historic preservation. The purpose of this program is to provide funding to assist major local, regional and state-wide efforts to preserve significant historic and archaeological resources, to assist major archaeological excavations or research projects, and assist in the development and fabrication of major museum exhibits that will promote knowledge and appreciation of the history of Florida. The program does not fund operational support for historic preservation organizations. This program provides historic preservation grants on a competitive basis. The Legislature determines the amount appropriated annually for the program, and funding for all eligible applications is not guaranteed. The Special Category Guidelines specify program policies and procedures. 

The Historic Preservation Grants Program utilizes an online grant system via which prospective applicants submit their applications. Applications from previous solicitation periods are also available upon request (for viewing only).

Applicant Eligibility

Public entities such as counties or municipalities, school districts, state colleges or universities, agencies of state government and non-profit organizations are eligible Applicant Organizations.  

Project Types 

Types of historic preservation projects that can be funded include:
  • Development projects with the mission of Preservation, Restoration, Rehabilitation or Reconstruction of historic properties regularly open to the public, and site-specific planning required for these activities such as structural or condition assessment reports. Development activities on historic Religious Properties shall be limited to building exterior envelope, excluding accessibility upgrades, and structural elements of the building. State-funded Development activities for historic cemeteries shall be limited to work on stabilizing, cleaning and repairing historic gravemarkers and other funerary items, repairing historic fences or structures within the cemetery and installing minimal security lighting;
  • Archaeology Research projects for all phases of terrestrial and underwater fieldwork, analyses of findings and write-up or to conduct collection research at established federal, state or public institutions;
  • Museum Exhibit projects to aid Florida history museum in exhibit work, including research of exhibit content, exhibit design, fabrication and installation. Exhibits must be permanently affixed to the building. For Museum Exhibit projects, Organizations must be a governmental or non-profit Florida history museum established permanently in Florida, promoting and encouraging knowledge and appreciation of Florida history through the collection, presentation, exhibition and interpretation of artifacts and other historical items related to Florida. The mission of the museum must relate directly to the history of Florida. Project oversight of museum exhibit projects funded by the Special Category Grant Program must be provided by a historian meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards for History, which are set forth in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation incorporated in paragraph 1A-39.001(7)(c), F.A.C; and
  • Acquisition of a single Historic Property or archaeological site, or group of Historic Properties or archaeological sites, in which all the resources have the same owner. For archaeological sites, an exception to the single owner provision may be made if the archaeological site extends on land that is contiguous, but owned by different property owners.

Application Limitations

An Applicant Organization shall submit no more than one (1) Special Category grant application under a single application deadline for a particular application cycle. State agencies, county or city governments or universities may submit single applications from more than one division or department under a single application cycle provided that those divisions or departments are separate and distinct budgetary units and provided that applications do not address the same facility, project or site.

Additionally, an Applicant Organization must NOT have multiple active Special Category projects under contract at one time. Special Category projects have a grant period of 24 months. Unless an Applicant Organization has a smaller project that will be completed in a single year, new applications should be submitted every other year. Furthermore, no organization may receive more than $1.5 million in historic preservation Special Category grant funding from the Division during a consecutive 5 state fiscal year period. 

Review Process

Applications are evaluated by the Florida Historical Commission. The criteria for evaluation includes historic significance, endangerment, appropriateness of the preservation treatment proposed, administrative capability of the organization, adequacy of technical and financial resources, compatibility with statewide historic preservation priorities, educational potential, economic benefits and public good resulting from the project. 

Grant Award and Match

Special Category grants provide assistance up to $500,000. There is no minimum request amount. An Applicant Organization is required to provide a 1:1 match except as specified in the Special Category Guidelines. Twenty-five percent of the required match must be cash-on-hand at the time of application. All match must be accounted for during the grant period. 

Special Category Application Information

When applying for a grant from the Division of Historical Resources the following information should prove useful.

  • Special Category Solicitation Notice (pdf)
  • Special Category Grants Guidelines (pdf)
  • For a sample application click here
  • PDF version of the How To Apply webinar is available on the right hand side of this page. Registration for scheduled webinars can be found on the Division's Upcoming Events page.
  • Substitute W9 form will be requested with all applications. Print out a copy of the form by going to the DFS website and attach that form to the Support Materials section of your application.
  • A DUNS number will also be requested at the time of application. This can be obtained here.

All applications must be completed and submitted via the online grant system by the application deadline. To access the new DOS Grants system click here.  

Information and Documents for Current Grantees

Managing your grant Progress Reports
  • Progress Report Form (doc) for projects awarded prior to July 1, 2017. Projects awarded after July 1, 2017 must submit via the DOSGrants system.
Photograph Submission Guidelines 
Photographs are requested not only at the time of application, but also to evidence the progress and completion of all funded projects. All projects must adhere to the specifications stipulated in the guidelines.
  • Photographic Guidelines (pdf) Projects awarded after July 1, 2017 must submit via the DOSGrants system. All other projects prior to July 1, 2017 may continue submitting photographs as usual
Division of Historical Resources Recommended Time Sheets
The following documents should be utilized to document any volunteer, in-kind, or grant worked hours related to your project for which there is no alternate official record. To calculate the value of volunteer services, use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Completed time sheets should be submitted with any payment request which cites these services.
Grant Funds Expenditure Log
Payment Request Form
  • Payment Request Form (dotx) for projects awarded prior to July 1, 2017. Projects awarded after July 1, 2017 must submit via the DOSGrants system.
Schedule of Contract Values Contract Details Amendment Request
  • Contract Amendment Form (doc) for projects awarded prior to July 1, 2017. Projects awarded after July 1, 2017 must submit via the DOSGrants system.
Single Audit Act
When a project is completed, the Grant Recipient is required to fill out the following document. Restrictive Covenant Preservation Agreement
Project Identification Sign/Credit Line
Pursuant to Section 286.25, Florida Statutes, in publicizing, advertising, or describing the sponsorship of the program the Grantee shall include the following statement:

a. "This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida." Any variation in this language must receive prior approval in writing by the Division.

b. All site-specific projects must include a Project identification sign, with the aforementioned language, that must be placed on site.The cost of preparation and erection of the Project identification sign are allowable project costs. Routine maintenance costs of Project signs are not allowable project costs. A photograph of the aforementioned sign must be submitted to the Division as soon as it is erected.

  • An example of a project identification sign can be viewed here and a jpg copy of the DHR Logo can be downloaded here.
Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation (36 C.F.R. 68)
State of Florida Archaeological Reports Standards and Guidelines
Electronic Payments
You can choose to use electronic funds transfer (EFT) to receive your grant payments.
  • If EFT has already been set up with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) for your organization, you do not need to submit another form.
  • To download this form visit the Direct Deposit sign-up on the DFS website.

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