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 the CHI Symposium planned for later in 2020. 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.

Information and applications about the 2020 Grant process will be coming soon. Current grantees must file a Grant Final Report by June 30 of the following year.


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

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