About the Certified Historical Institution Program

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 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. 

Tier 1 and Tier 2 Certification

In addition to other requirements as defined in the Certification Guidelines, 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 1 CHIs are eligible for an annual grant of up to $2,000. Tier 2 CHIs are eligible for an annual grant of up to $1,000.+

**COVID Considerations**

We understand that COVID-19 has forced museum closures during the pandemic, thereby significantly reducing museums’ and other historical institutions’ ability to serve the public.  Because of the extraordinary circumstances, we are making accommodations to the certification requirements. 

2021 Changes

New Applicants:  

In response to the question about the number of hours open to the public and hours of public programming offered, please insert the number of public programming hours and public operating hours during a normal year. If the impact of the pandemic has resulted in downsizing or other business adjustments that will affect your ability to return to normal operations, then base your estimated public hours on your expected new business model.

Renewal Applicants:

In the section about changes to your business, please provide a brief summary of the changes that have occurred for your business. Please include a statement addressing your organization’s ability to resume normal operations after COVID. 


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

2020 – 2021 Certified Historical Institution Important Dates

  • Information Webinar: January 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Certification Dates

  • Certification New and Renewal Application Submissions: December 1, 2020-January 31, 2021
  • Board Of Directors Application Review: February 19, 2021
  • Applicant Notification: March 1, 2021

Grant Dates

  • 2020-21 Grant Final Reports Due: June 30, 2021
  • 2021-22 Grant Application Submissions: June 30 – July 31, 2021
  • Board of Directors Review: August 20, 2021
  • Grant Notification: August 30, 2021
  • Checks Issued and Mailed/Delivered: October 4, 2021

Grant Program

Information and forms for the 2021 Grants will be posted in early 2021.


Certification Guidelines

Certification Renewal (Open December 1, 2020-January 31, 2021)

Certification Application for *New* Applicants (Open December 1, 2020-January 31, 2021)


For questions about the Certified Historical Institution Program, contact Nicola Brownlee at 520-617-1141 or [email protected].

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