The Arizona Historical Society (AHS) Certified Historical Institution (CHI) Program is designed to support historical museums and organizations across the state of Arizona in their efforts to collect, preserve and share Arizona’s rich history. This program is open to brick-and-mortar facilities, as well as to historical organizations that fulfill certain requirements related to the preservation and sharing of Arizona history.

CHIs demonstrate efforts to follow and apply standards or “best practices” established by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). While some organizations are restricted in their ability to meet some of these guidelines, AHS seeks to support those who recognize the importance of the standards and who demonstrate a desire to adhere to them within the constraints of their individual circumstance.

AHS provides support to CHIs with access to industry professionals, networking and educational materials. CHIs are eligible for grants up to $2,000 per year. Beginning in 2020, AHS will host a CHI Symposium, designed to provide members with additional educational and networking opportunities.

In 2020, AHS is pleased to expand the CHI program to provide an option for smaller historical organizations to become certified. The 2020 CHI program now provides for two levels of certification; Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 1 organizations must be open to the public, and/or offer educational programming aligned with the organization’s mission a minimum of 416 hours per year. Tier 2 organizations must be open to the public, and/or offer educational programming aligned with the organization’s mission a minimum of 108 hours per year. This requirement can be met through a combination of museum hours and public programming, or solely on public programming.

Tier 2 certification expands the program to organizations that previously did not qualify for certification, particularly those without brick-and-mortar
facilities. Tier 1 CHIs are eligible for an annual grant of up to $2,000, while Tier 2 CHIs are eligible for an annual grant of up to $1,000.

The 2020 program also includes the addition of an Institutional membership. This membership is designed for historical organizations and museums, schools, libraries and other institutions. It includes a subscription to the Journal of Arizona History. Membership at the Institutional level or above is required for certification. To become a member at the Institutional Membership level or above, visit our Membership page.

Historical museums and organizations must apply for certification during the application window. In 2020, applications will be accepted beginning
February 3 through February 29. Certification is valid for one year. Application for renewal is also during the same window.


Tier 1 and Tier 2 CHIs have equal access to educational materials, networking opportunities, and promotion on the AHS website, and are invited to attend a future CHI Symposium. In addition, Tier 1 CHIs are eligible for a grant up to $2,000 annually, and Tier 2 CHIs are eligible for a grant up to $1,000 annually.


AHS provides support to Certified Historical Institutions through a grant program, administered annually.

2019-2020 Grant Final Report: Final reports are due June 30, 2020.  All grant funds received must be expended prior to the report due date. (Note that funds may be expended as late as June 30, 2020, provided all funds are accounted for in the final report and your report is received by June 30, 2020). Please complete the fillable 2019 Grant Final Report PDF and submit to [email protected] by June 30, 2020. *Download a free version of Adobe Reader to complete the report.* 

2020-2021 Grant Application: The grant application period is now open and applications are due July 31, 2020. We have extended the deadline for grant applications, as a result of COVID-19. Read the Small Grant Guidelines.

The Small Grant Application includes several main components: Information about your organization and a Project Narrative, as well as a Budget Detail and Summary. You may complete the budget in PDF form OR you may use the Excel spreadsheet form provided below. Questions? Read the Grant Guidelines or email [email protected].

  1. Small Grant Application Narrative 2020-2021 (PDF)
  2. Budget Details and Summary (PDF) OR Budget Detail and Summary (Excel)

For questions about the Certified Historical Institution Program, contact [email protected].

Join Our Email ListStay up-to-date with news from the Arizona Historical Society