The Montana Historic Preservation Grant (MHPG) Program is a state-funded program created in 2019 as a result of Senate Bill 338, Sections 1 through 17. The MHPG Program is designed to support public or private entities with the preservation of historic sites, historical societies, or history museums through grant funding. The MHPG Program provides the opportunity to stimulate economic development, community revitalization, and statewide tourism through increased investment, job creation or retention, business expansion, and local tax base growth. Combined with such return on investment, the program supports the preservation of Montana’s historic structures, sites, societies, and museums, contributing to the maintenance and demonstrating the economic impact of historical resources throughout the state. The program coordinates with wider historic preservation technical assistance available and utilizes the diversity of funds to address both the financial and preservation gaps of projects. The program funding invests in the critical point to help projects move forward, catalyzing local revitalization and economic growth.
Applications considered for this grant cycle must have been submitted by
February 28, 2020.
The Department of Commerce recognizes the substantial impact that communities, businesses, and nonprofits have experienced due to novel coronavirus or COVID-19. As a result, we have decided to adjust the deadline to submit documentation of a completed environmental review process for the Montana Historic Preservation Grant from May 1, 2020 to June 12, 2020.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Community Development Division at
(406) 841-2770 or DOCCDD@mt.gov.
MHPG Application Guidelines (PDF)
MHPG Application Word Version (Word)
MHPG Application Guidelines Appendix B (PDF)
MHPG Program Public Comments and Responses
Environmental Review Forms for Non-Local Government Applicants
Environmental Review Flowchart (PDF)
Sample Resolution for Exempt Projects (PDF) (Word)
Sample Resolution for Environmental Assessment Projects (PDF) (Word)
Sample Environmental Review Form B-1 for Non-Governmental Applicants (PDF) (Word)
Sample Advertisement for Non-Governmental Applicants (PDF) (Word)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can MHPG funds be used for operations?
Operational expenses are not eligible for funding.
Can an applicant apply for more than one grant?
Yes. Multiple applications can be submitted by one applicant for different projects, but multiple applicants cannot apply for the same project. For example, a local government might apply for needed improvements to multiple historic buildings but may not apply for multiple grants for a single building. Similarly, a nonprofit and business cannot both submit applications for the same building or historic site.
This grant program is reimbursement. Does that mean grantees have to raise the full amount up front?
Program reimbursement grants will not require funds up front. Project funds are dispersed by submitting draw requests and applicable invoices to our office for processing. Projects may have multiple draw requests, depending on the project size, timeline, and budget. Typically, invoices require payment within 30 days, allowing time for grantees to request funds from Commerce before the invoice is due. While we do request 15 days to process such draws, our team recognizes the need to expedite such requests as quickly as possible. Our team will be in regular communication with each grant awardee and/or administrator throughout the startup process, draw requests, and close out process.
My building is over 50 years old, does that make me eligible to apply?
All applicants must demonstrate that the project has historic significance locally, regionally, or to the history of Montana. If a structure or site is listed on local, state, or national register of historic places it is eligible. A building that is more than 50 years old may be eligible if its historic significance can be clearly demonstrated and documented.
Can a non-history Museum apply?
Eligible applicants are both public and private entities. However, MHPG funding is available to complete preservation activities only for History Museums, Historic Sites, and Historical Societies. Other types of museums, such as an art museum is not eligible. However, any of these organizations which are housed within a historic building which meets the eligibility criteria may apply for projects directly related to the preservation of the structure. For example, lighting or displays for an Art Museum would be ineligible, but the museum may apply for funds to address historic building needs such as roof repairs, accessibility improvements, or to address building code issues.
Do I need to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?
It is unlikely that an MHPG project would necessitate an EIS. An EIS is needed only when the proposed project would have significant adverse effects on the environment that cannot be fully mitigated. MHPG projects may typically be Exempt from MEPA or otherwise require completing an Environmental Assessment.
Do I need to hold a public meeting?
Yes, under MEPA requirements all projects must hold a public meeting to discuss the project, its expected environmental determination level, and respond to public comments. The environmental discussion can be included on the agenda of an existing meeting such as a City Council meeting, or a board meeting for a nonprofit applicant. It is important to take meeting minutes (recording public comments and attendance) and respond to all public comments.
Are Tribal Governments required to sign a Waiver of Sovereign Immunity as part of the MHPG grant application process?
Yes, since the project involves state funds, all applicants must agree to comply with State laws as they pertain to the project. A waiver is not an application requirement. Tribal Governments who are awarded funds will be required to sign a Waiver of Sovereign Immunity as a start-up condition of award. The waiver is limited solely to the Scope of Work and timeline for the MHPG contract activity.
Do I need a preliminary architectural report (PAR) and contractor bids to apply?
No. A PAR is not an application requirement. An application should include any preliminary project planning in line with the scope of work, to support the projects feasibility and estimated costs. More involved projects, such as a complete building renovation, would necessitate more involved planning than a roof replacement, which may not need a formal PAR.
Is an organizational application required to have strategic plan, operational plan, or fully audited financials?
Organizations are not required to conduct strategic plans, operating plans, or fully audited financials to be eligible or competitive for grant funding in the program. As part of the application process, providing such materials when available helps to set the context of the institution and the project. Applicants should feel comfortable submitting any plans created, whether that be a more succinct board-created annual strategy or a full-scale strategic plan. If a plan is not available, then an organization can articulate its goals in response to the application questions.
When will funds be available?
Awards will be made during the 2021 legislative session. Once the legislature passes the bill, it is then submitted to the Governor for signature to become effective. The date that the bill becomes effective will be the official award date. After this date grantees may incur reimbursable project costs. Activity before this date cannot be reimbursed with MHPG funds. Funds will be available to draw at the start of the fiscal year, July 1, 2021.
Why does the application say 2023 biennium?
The biennium is named by the last year of the biennium (for example the 2023 biennium begins July 1, 2021 and ends June 30, 2023). Awards will be during the 2021 legislative session will have access to funding beginning July 1, 2021; which is the beginning of the 2023 biennium. As established in SB 338, Commerce is required to receive MHPG Program applications no later than March 1st of every even numbered year. Commerce will submit recommendations for review by the legislature (during odd numbered years) with funding available for the following biennium after the legislative session.