Exploring Human Origins: Project Guidelines

Exploring Human Origins: A Traveling Exhibition for Libraries. What does it mean to be human?

Applications open online: September 12, 2022
Deadline for submission: November 7, 2022 (by 11:59 p.m. Central Time)
Award notification date: January 2023

Apply online via our grants management platform 
View a PDF of the grant application

Questions?

Before starting an application, carefully review the guidelines below and read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

If you have additional questions, contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org.

Table of Contents

  1. Project Overview
  2. Award Information
  3. Eligibility
  4. Application and Submission Information 
  5. Application Review 
  6. Key Dates
  7. Contact Information

I. Project Overview

The ALA Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Human Origins Program, invites applications from public libraries interested in hosting the traveling exhibition Exploring Human Origins: Promoting a National Conversation on Human Evolution.

The 1,200-square-foot traveling exhibition is based on the exhibition that opened in 2010 at the NMNH to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the museum. Please see http://humanorigins.si.edu/ and http://humanorigins.si.edu/exhibit for information on the permanent exhibition and the NMNH Human Origins Program. Over 20 million people have visited the Hall of Human Origins exhibition since its launch. The exhibition's popularity and impact have led the NMNH to plan a traveling exhibition for libraries that will engage communities across the United States in reflecting on the question "What does it mean to be human?" and the science of human origins.

Six public libraries will be selected to host the traveling exhibition and related programming in their communities for a period of six to nine weeks. Please note that this invitation is for public libraries only. The traveling exhibition will tour the U.S. from May 2023 through May 2026, with library host periods available each summer and winter. See a list of available host periods. 

The goal of the traveling exhibition and public programs is to create an opportunity for audiences across a wide spectrum — from those who do not question the scientific study of human origins to those who are troubled by its findings — to engage the complex field of human evolution research in ways that are understandable, fulfilling, captivating and relevant. Reflection upon the question "What does it mean to be human?" can be informed by the arts, religion, ethics, philosophy, science and everyday experience. The NMNH Human Origins Program's approach to the discussion of human origins is to communicate both the nature of the life sciences and their discoveries concerning human evolution, and to be open to different cultural perspectives on evolution by fostering positive dialogue that encourages a respectful exploration of the science of human evolution.

To support such a far-reaching public conversation, scientists from the NMNH Human Origins Program and members of the project's Broader Social Impacts Committee (BSIC), composed of 15 representatives of diverse religious and philosophical communities across the United States, will work with the host libraries to present a series of public programs at each library host site (see Public Programs below). Library host sites are also required to create a local consultation panel with diverse representation to help develop programs and publicity.

Public libraries selected for the project will receive programming support in the amount of $1,000. The project director (local coordinator) from each site will receive virtual training on the exhibition content and set-up in advance of their host period. Extensive online and printed programming resources will be available.

By touring the exhibition and providing public programs to communities across the U.S., the NMNH Human Origins Program and ALA endeavor to create a respectful and welcoming atmosphere for public audiences to explore how, when and where human qualities emerged. The goal is to inspire audiences to initiate and engage in open, constructive and civil conversation about the natural world and evolution through the lens of human origins.

The Exhibition

Exhibition photo featuring 5 skulls on low table in front of image and exhibition panels in background.

A common assumption in the scientific community is that the presentation of evidence — fossils, archeological remains and genomic data — should be sufficient to convince public audiences how organisms, including humans, have come into existence. The notion is that scientific evidence alone can transform how people think about the causes of human origins and their implications. Therefore, scientific evidence is often separated and kept distant from people's beliefs about the world as informed by religion, philosophy, literature and the arts in general, as well as their personal hopes, aspirations and experiences.

There is growing empirical evidence that this approach to public science understanding is unproductive with regard to human evolution. Scientific discoveries concerning human evolution continue to rewrite the narrative of how humans came to be. This changing narrative has profound implications for how people comprehend the world and their place in it. The perspective of the NMNH Human Origins Program is that public understanding is framed by personal meaning. Thus, respecting and paying attention to the connection between scientific discoveries and the meaningful framework orienting people's lives are essential to engaging them with new research discoveries on human origins.

By presenting the themes of the traveling exhibition in terms of the question "What does it mean to be human?," the project sponsors intend to avoid the presumption that scientific findings, by themselves, tell us all there is to know about the qualities that define human uniqueness, its causes and its implications. The goal of the traveling exhibition and its associated programs is to encourage a public conversation that focuses on multiple perspectives concerning the nature of humanness — one that embraces the ideas and beliefs of non-scientists and fosters greater appreciation of the complexity of the science of human evolution. The organizers understand that views on this subject cover a wide spectrum, and they welcome that variety in a respectful and civil community conversation.

The traveling exhibition is designed to establish a shared, factual foundation for that conversation by communicating compelling messages about the emergence over time of the defining features of Homo sapiens and the relationship of our species to the rest of nature. Through panels, interactive kiosks, hands-on displays and videos, the exhibition invites audiences to explore the milestones in the evolutionary journey of becoming human — from walking upright, creating technology and eating new foods, to rapid brain enlargement, development of symbolic language and creation of societies — milestones that have led to the unique position held by humans in the history of life.

Although science has uncovered the ancient roots of many defining qualities of human beings, public usage and understanding of the word "human" can be substantially broader than that of science alone. Therefore, the exhibition audience will be invited to offer their own ideas on what it means to be human, and thus connect their personal perspectives to the scientific discovery of how humans evolved as part of life on Earth.

One of the exhibition's displays will show a group of skull casts that visitors can rotate by hand to explore changes in the face and braincase of early human ancestors over 2.5 million years. A public bulletin board will ask for personal responses to the thematic question of the exhibition: "What does it mean to be human?" The exhibition is an invitation to explore many ways to answer this question, including physical traits, behaviors, values, beliefs, emotions and spirituality. Libraries will be responsible for reporting the public's answers to the Smithsonian's Human Origins website at the conclusion of the exhibition’s stay at each library. At interactive kiosks, visitors will examine the human family tree, find out how different species are identified, and explore different hypotheses about how early human species are related to one another and to our own species, Homo sapiens. Videos will show the succession of milestones in the human evolutionary journey. Visitors will be able to walk in a replica of bipedal footprints that are based on a trail made by human ancestors in East Africa 3.6 million years ago. A section on Social Life will show how early humans shared food, cared for infants and other adults, created shelters, used fire and built social networks. A statue of a Neanderthal mother and child will travel with the exhibition.

Exploring Human Origins thoroughly explores the process of scientific investigation by communicating not only what we know about human origins but also how we know it. The exhibition makes available the major scientific findings on human origins, including the evidence that distinctive features of our species did not arise all at once, that survival challenges led to evolutionary changes in human ancestors, that human adaptations accumulated over time, and that new questions and discoveries continually refine our understanding of the timing and the process of human evolution.

The exhibition requires 1,200 square feet in one location in a library for optimum display. Because of the nature of exhibition content and the historical sequence of human origins findings, the exhibition components should be displayed in a prescribed order. The exhibition consists of 40 panels: one standing panel tripod unit of eleven panels; one tripod unit with nine panels; two curved units of eight panels each; one curved unit of three panels; and one single standing panel unit. There will also be two interactive kiosks and a display of skulls. In addition, there are five small freestanding, retractable banners: two introductory banners with the thematic question and three banners expanding on exhibit content.

Library host sites are asked to provide two devices that can play back videos via DVD, a downloaded file, or internet-based streaming. These are for videos that can be streamed from the Human Origins Program website, played via downloaded video files provided, or played from provided DVDs. There must be wireless internet access in the display area. Electricity must be available nearby for the kiosks and monitors (four to five electrical outlets). Please see the exhibition floor plan for the desired arrangement of exhibition components (PDF). Some flexibility in placement of exhibition components will be allowed.

Public Programs

Library host sites are required to create a local consultation panel composed of community members of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The panels are meant to serve as advisors for developing local programs and publicity, and for organizing and conducting community discussions about evolution. The panels will ideally be composed of people from different religious, educational, humanities, civic, scientific and other community groups. The size of the consultation panel is flexible depending on community needs. In addition, the BSIC will help provide libraries selected for the tour with connections to local networks and groups interested in the science and religion dialogue.

In order to reach a large audience in their communities, library host sites are required to host at least seven public programs throughout the course of their host period. Required programs include three or four programs, as described below, presented by scientists from the NMNH Human Origins Program, plus a minimum of four additional programs throughout the library's host period. One of the programs must be a formal opening of the exhibition (which may be held in conjunction with the evening science program, described in #4 below). Programs, including presentations by scientists from the Human Origins Program, may be held in-person or virtually/hybrid.

Scientists from the Human Origins Program and members of the BSIC will develop program schedules for their presentations at each library in early 2023. These programs will include the following:

  1. An evening of community conversation tentatively titled "What Does Human Evolution Mean to You? Public and Scientific Understandings," led by BSIC co-chairs Drs. Connie Bertka and Jim Miller.
    The discomfort felt by many people about evolution, particularly at the point where science and religion converge, has resulted in a lack of opportunities for the public to reflect on findings in human origins research and how these discoveries relate to people's personal understanding of the world and their place in it. This program will offer that opportunity and address a popular misconception that there is an inherent conflict between science and religion in the area of human origins. The BSIC has developed the Primer on Science, Religion, Evolution and Creationism, a document that promotes a respectful, welcoming and insightful public conversation on a topic audiences often see as troubling or prefer to avoid.
  2. Event for clergy and community leaders (NOTE: This program is optional for libraries). If individual libraries are interested in specifically engaging religious leaders in their community on the topic of human evolution, the BSIC co-chairs will coordinate a focused event for clergy and community leaders to explore the exhibit with Human Origins Program scientific and education staff and BSIC members. The agenda for discussion following the tour will be coordinated with input from the local consultation panel. Ideally, one or two local, respected clergy and community leaders will work with the BSIC co-chairs to invite their local colleagues to this event.
  3. Educator workshop. Dr. Briana Pobiner, who leads the Human Origins Program's education and outreach efforts, with the assistance of Dr. Connie Bertka, will present a half-day workshop on human evolution for science educators in each community hosting the exhibition. The workshop is for classroom teachers, science and nature center and museum educators, homeschoolers and other local educators. It will feature exploration and hands-on practice in presenting the Human Origins Program resources provided for each community. These resources include a set of five early human skull casts; classroom-tested, high-school biology teaching supplements on "What does it mean to be human?," and a teacher resource on cultural and religious sensitivity strategies. Depending on the size of the community, project sponsors would like to have from 5 to 20 teachers attend this workshop.
  4. Evening science program. In consultation with each library's program developers and community panel, Dr. Rick Potts, the exhibition curator and director of the NMNH Human Origins Program, will give a lecture for the general public about the latest research in human evolution and an overview of exhibition themes and messages. This program will ideally also involve another scientist speaker from the local area, and would likely be held on or close to the opening day of the exhibition. The evening science program may double as the opening reception.

Other programs. In addition to the programs presented by the NMNH Human Origins Program, libraries should present at least four other public programs throughout the course of their exhibition host period. The local consultation panel should serve as advisors for these programs. Programs may be lectures by experts in this area, panel discussions, book discussions (a list of recommended books will be provided), readings, performances, or other formats.  One of the additional programs must be a formal opening of the exhibition (which may be held in conjunction with the evening science program, described as #4 above).

Collaborations with schools, including universities and community colleges, science centers and museums in presenting programs are recommended. Libraries are encouraged to present a free program at a different public venue to help draw different audiences. Libraries are also encouraged to work with local experts in the science of human origins, religious studies, ethics, philosophy and the arts and humanities in developing these programs. Applications that mention specific scholar presenters for the programs and provide resumes or biographies of them will increase their competitiveness.

The project funder and organizers would like libraries to engage with schools in presenting the exhibition to the community. Visits to the exhibition by school groups are strongly encouraged. 

Library host sites selected to be part of the tour will be asked to provide project sponsors with brief descriptions of their final list of additional programs for approval.

Virtual Training

Pre-recorded virtual training will be available for library project coordinators. The training will cover the goals, scientific content, community programming, audience interaction and evaluation strategies, and conversational approaches that are the foundation of this project.

Project Evaluation

The NMNH Human Origins Program encourages host libraries to survey exhibition visitors and program participants to understand how people engage with the exhibition and programs in the local communities. The Human Origins Program will provide digital files for surveys that can be printed and filled out by visitors leaving the exhibition. The use of the Public Library Association’s Project Outcome evaluation toolkit is also recommended. 

II. Award Information

Six public libraries will be selected to host Exploring Human Origins between May 2023 and May 2026.

Benefits for Library Host Sites

Sites selected for this grant program will receive the following:

  • The traveling exhibition for a six- to nine-week loan period (shipping costs are covered by the project grant). Available host periods are as follows:
    • Host Period 1: Wednesday, May 24 — Monday, July 31, 2023
    • Host Period 2: Friday, December 1, 2023 — Monday, January 15, 2024 
    • Host Period 3: Wednesday, May 29 — Thursday, August 1, 2024
    • Host Period 4: Sunday, December 1, 2024 — Wednesday, January 15, 2025
    • Host Period 5: Thursday, May 29 — Friday, August 1, 2025
    • Host Period 6: Monday, December 1, 2025 — Thursday, January 15, 2026
  • A programming support grant of $1,000 from the NMNH Human Origins Program (grant funds may not be used to support indirect costs, i.e., general administrative expenses of any kind, or to purchase equipment).
  • Presentation of three to four programs at each site by the NMNH Human Origins Program (at no cost to host sites).
  • Extensive printed and online support materials from the NMNH Human Origins Program.
  • A set of five early human skull replicas, which will remain in the care of the library and can be made available for circulation to local science educators.
  • Downloadable promotional and press materials (host sites will be responsible for printing these items as needed).
  • Online resources, including resources to assist sites in presenting public programs, publicity materials, and shipping and installation instructions.
  • Pre-recorded virtual training for the library’s project director covering the goals, scientific content, community programming, audience interaction and evaluation strategies, and conversational approaches that are the foundation of this project.
  • Technical and programming support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the project, including participation in an online community for host sites.

Requirements for Library Host Sites

Public libraries selected as host sites for this traveling exhibition tour are required to:

  • Appoint one staff member as the project director (local coordinator) of the project. The project director from each library must participate in pre-recorded virtual training.
  • Organize a local consultation panel composed of people from different religious, educational, humanities, civic, scientific and other community groups to serve as sounding boards for development of local programming and publicity for the exhibition. The size of the local consultation panel is flexible depending on community needs; proposals should concisely address the factors that determined the proposed composition of the panel.
  • Identify local partner organizations that can help market the exhibition and reach target audiences (suggested partners include public television and radio stations; other public, college, or university libraries; science and history centers; museums; state humanities councils; and local ministerial, ecumenical, interreligious, ethical or humanists associations.)
  • In addition to the programs presented by the NMNH Human Origins Program staff, present at least four public programs during their exhibition host period. Additional programs by the libraries are encouraged. All exhibition-related programs must be free to the public.
  • Use designated sponsor and funder credits and/or logos on all locally produced publicity materials in any medium and follow guidelines for their use.
  • Promote the exhibition and programs to the widest possible public audience.
  • Provide two media players and two monitors for video playback in the exhibition area.
  • Provide wireless internet access in the display area and sufficient electrical outlets nearby to support at least two kiosks and two monitors.
  • Follow exhibition space guidelines (display the exhibition in 1,200 square feet of space, follow display guidelines for placement of exhibition components).
  • Provide adequate security for the exhibition; monitor it on a regular schedule during library open hours.
  • Provide all reports to the project sponsors by the deadlines requested, including a pre-exhibit report, an exhibition condition/damage report upon delivery, and a final project report.
  • Add the exhibition to the institution's insurance coverage or obtain an insurance rider for the length of the display period (insurance value will be available in early 2023).
  • At the conclusion of their host period, report the public's answers to the question "What does it mean to be human?" (as answered in a public bulletin board in the exhibition) to the Smithsonian's Human Origins website.

III. Eligibility

Eligible institutions include public libraries in the United States and U.S. territories. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

Federal entities are ineligible to apply. Applications from organizations whose projects are so closely intertwined with a federal entity that the project takes on characteristics of the federal entity's own authorized activities may also be deemed ineligible. This does not preclude applicants from using grant funds from, or sites and materials controlled by, other federal entities in their projects.

Please contact the ALA Public Programs Office at publicprograms@ala.org if you have questions about eligibility.

Late, incomplete, or ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

IV. Application and Submission Information

ALA will accept applications for Exploring Human Origins between September 12 and November 7, 2022.

Note: ALA recognizes that libraries that most need support are often those with the least capacity to apply for grants due to inadequate resources and staffing. If you feel you need support in developing your application, please request a 20-minute phone consultation with a member of the ALA Public Programs Office staff by emailing publicprograms@ala.org so we may assist you.

To begin the application process, go to the online application and complete the following steps. You may also wish to preview a PDF of the application before getting started.

Create a New Account

To apply for Exploring Human Origins or any grant from the ALA Public Programs Office, you must first create an account in our grant administration platform. If this is your first time submitting an application through our grants management platform, you may want to first review our How to Apply webpage.

To create an account, you will need:

  • Organization Information: You will be asked to provide contact information for your library, including your library’s Employer Identification Number (EIN)/Tax Identification Number. 
  • User Information: You will be asked to provide contact information for yourself (the person submitting the application on behalf of the library).
  • Executive Officer Information: If you are not the library’s executive officer, you will be asked to provide contact information for that person.
  • Password: You will be asked to create a password for your account.

If you already have an account in our grants management platform, please log in. You will be taken to the Local Information section of the application after logging in.

Complete the Application

To apply for Exploring Human Origins, you must complete the following steps:

ENTER PROJECT NAME (all applicants must type “EHO”)
COMPLETE PROJECT DIRECTOR INFORMATION
COMPLETE LIBRARY INFORMATION
COMPLETE SHIPPING INFORMATION
WRITE THE PROPOSAL NARRATIVE
COMPLETE EXHIBITION SCHEDULING PREFERENCES
UPLOAD SUPPORTING MATERIALS
CERTIFY AUTHORIZATION TO SUBMIT APPLICATION
REVIEW AND EDIT YOUR APPLICATION
SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

The application contents are explained in detail below, or you may view a PDF of the application.

1. ENTER PROJECT NAME

To begin your application, enter the letters “EHO” into the “Project Name” field.

2. COMPLETE PROJECT DIRECTOR INFORMATION

Provide contact information for your library’s project director for this grant. The project director is the person who will be responsible for coordinating the traveling exhibition at the library. They will be the primary point of contact for the project at the applicant institution. Please attach a C.V. of up to two pages for the project director in Section 6.A.
 
3. COMPLETE LIBRARY INFORMATION

Identify your library type, number of branches in your system (if applicable), community type, population size, Unique Entity ID (UEI)*, average weekday visitors, average weekend day visitors, closest metropolitan area, website URL, number of weekly open hours at proposed exhibition host site, and anticipated audience size.

*Note: On April 4, 2022, the unique entity identifier used across the federal government changed from the DUNS Number to the Unique Entity ID (UEI). All institutions receiving an Exploring Human Origins grant are required to provide a UEI. Project directors should contact their institution's grants administrator or chief financial officer to obtain their institution's UEI. If your institution does not already have a UEI, you can request one at https://sam.gov/content/entity-registration

4. WRITE THE PROPOSAL NARRATIVE

Answer the following narrative questions. Each one has a character limit of 5,000 characters (approximately 700 words). Please respond to all elements of each narrative question. Before you compose the narrative part of this proposal, we strongly recommend that you read the guidelines carefully. If you do not, your proposal is unlikely to be competitive.

  1. Describe why your library would like to participate in this project. What does the library hope to accomplish by bringing this exhibition to the community? In your response, please consider community interests and demographics; local history, collections or other resources pertinent to the project; and why your community would benefit from public conversations about what it means to be human. If relevant, briefly summarize your library's experience with programming on topics for which there is a history of strong personal responses.
  2. Library host sites are required to organize a local consultation panel representing diverse perspectives in the community to serve as advisors for creating local programming and publicity. The panels will ideally be composed of people from different religious, educational, humanities, civic, scientific and other community groups. The size of the consultation panel is flexible depending on community needs. Please describe the members/potential members of your consultation panel that you have contacted and the reasons each person is being considered for the panel. C.V.s or biographies of committee members should be attached in Section 6.A. Letters of support from panel members may be attached in Section 6.B.
  3. What interests you the most about the programs presented by scientists from the NMNH Human Origins Program (i.e. the evening of community conversation, educator workshop, and evening science program)? Are you interested in hosting the optional event for clergy and community leaders? Why or why not?
  4. Discuss your plans and themes for your library's other programs (a minimum of four additional programs offered throughout your host period). How will they complement the programs from the NMNH? If you wish, please attach letters from other local project supporters in Section 6.C. Provide the names and titles of other people who may be program presenters. Presenters should have expertise in one or more of the following areas: science of human origins, religious studies, ethics, philosophy, history and/or the arts and humanities. Describe their experience with the topics of the exhibition and with programming for public audiences. Attach a C.V. or biography (up to two pages only) for them in Section 6.A. Support letters from them may be attached in Section 6.B.
  5. Describe your target audiences and how you will reach them for the exhibition and programs. Do you anticipate any challenges in attracting an audience? How will you approach possible challenges? What will be the "tone" or message of your publicity for this exhibition? Please attach a typical communications plan for a public programs project presented by your library in Section 6.D and add anything that you might do differently for this project.
  6. Where will the exhibition be displayed in your library? Please describe the space and its relationship to traffic flow in the library. Does the area have wireless internet access and sufficient electrical outlets? Do you have access to two devices that can play back videos via DVD, a downloaded file, or internet-based streaming? Please attach a floor plan and photos of the exhibit space in Section 6.E.
  7. Describe how you will work with educators and schools in your area. Estimate how many school-age children might visit the exhibition and how many educators might participate in the educator workshop. Note any long-term relationships you have with local educators that might prove beneficial to the effort to recruit participants for the educator workshop.

5. COMPLETE EXHIBITION SCHEDULING PREFERENCES

In this section, you are asked to consider each of six possible exhibition host periods. For each period, indicate either "Preferred" (denoting your top choice), "Yes" (denoting periods that your library is able to host the exhibition), or "No" (denoting periods that your library is unable to host the exhibition. Please note that the exhibition organizers cannot guarantee that you will receive one of your preferred display periods. There is a comments area in this section if you would like to add more information about scheduling preferences.

6. UPLOAD SUPPORTING MATERIALS

6.A. UPLOAD C.V.s/BIOGRAPHIES

Upload the C.V.s or biographies of the project director, local consultation panel members, and possible program presenters with expertise in this subject, as described in the instructions in the "Project Director Information" section and in Nos. 2 and 4 of the proposal narrative.

6.B. UPLOAD LETTER(S) OF SUPPORT FROM LOCAL CONSULTATION PANEL MEMBERS AND EXPERT PRESENTERS

Upload letters of support from members of local consultation panel and expert presenters for programs, as described in the instructions for Nos. 2 and 4 of the proposal narrative.

6.C. UPLOAD OTHER LETTERS OF SUPPORT

Upload other letters of support for the project from local organizations and institutions.

6.D. UPLOAD COMMUNICATIONS PLAN

Upload a typical public program communications plan for your library and note anything you might do differently for this project, as described in No. 5 of the proposal narrative.

6.E. UPLOAD EXHIBITION-SPACE FLOOR PLAN AND PHOTOS

Upload a floor plan of the exhibition space in your library and photos of the space, as described in No. 6 of the proposal narrative.

7. CERTIFY AUTHORIZATION TO SUBMIT APPLICATION

An application to host Exploring Human Origins is an application for an award from ALA, using funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Human Origins Program. ALA is required by law to ask applicants to identify for each application a Certifying Official who is authorized to submit applications for funding on behalf of the applicant organization. To complete this section, you must enter all of the information that is requested.

You will be asked to confirm that all statements contained in the application are true and correct and that the applicant organization is neither presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, nor voluntarily excluded from participation in this transaction by any federal department or agency. You can check the status of your institution with regard to debarment at the website of the System for Award Management (SAM.gov).

8. REVIEW AND EDIT YOUR APPLICATION

The grant application system will save your work periodically as you fill out your proposal. You can edit your application as many times as you like prior to submission. Once your application is submitted you will no longer be able to alter it.

9. SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

Once you are satisfied with your application and all required questions have been answered, you may submit it by selecting the "Submit" button. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on November 7, 2022. Applications submitted after that time will be considered ineligible. Applications and support materials may not be mailed or e-mailed.

Note that once you have submitted your application, you can no longer alter it. The application will then be submitted for review.

You will receive via e-mail a confirmation of the submission of your application.

V. Application Review

Throughout its decades of grantmaking, the ALA Public Programs Office has developed decision-making procedures that ensure the selection of qualified, prepared libraries. At the same time, the Public Programs Office takes steps to ensure a fair, equitable process for libraries that are under-funded or that serve under-resourced or historically marginalized communities. 

Applications for Exploring Human Origins will be peer-reviewed and evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Clarity and completeness of the application. Has the applicant supplied all required information, including the names for the local consultation panel, seven sections of the proposal narrative, and preferred display dates for the exhibition? Are plans and ideas for programs described clearly?
  • Evidence of local programming and publicity support, such as the local consultation panel, experts in the field who could be program presenters, and local organizations and institutions.
  • Ideas and vision for exhibition programs. How do these programs relate to the applicant's community? How will conversations about human origins contribute to the community's cultural life?
  • Quality and comprehensiveness of communications and audience recruitment plans.
  • Institutional administrative support for the project.

Other factors that may influence the final selection of exhibition sites include the following:

  • Location of the sites. The selection committee would like programs to take place in various regions of the country.
  • Size and demographics of the community. The selection committee seeks a selection of communities of different sizes and varied demographics.

Applicants are encouraged to address questions about the selection guidelines, process and requirements to the ALA Public Programs Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045, or publicprograms@ala.org.

Review and selection process

Each application will be assessed by qualified reviewers from the library field in collaboration with the exhibition organizers. The exhibition organizers will make the final decisions based on reviewer feedback.

Ensure you receive messages regarding your application! Emails regarding your application status will come from administrator@grantinterface.com. Please save this email address as a contact to prevent notification emails from being marked as spam.

VI. Key Dates

Application Deadline: November 7, 2022
Award Notification: No later than January 30, 2023
Exhibition Tour Period: May 2023 -- May 2026
Final Reports Due to ALA: 30 days after end of host period

VII. Contact Information

If you have questions about the program, contact:

Public Programs Office
American Library Association
1-800-545-2433, ext. 5045
publicprograms@ala.org