LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A historic Little Rock venue will get a new life thanks to a new federal grant and the work of local supporters.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Park Service announced that they are awarding over $15 million to projects dedicated to preserving sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality.

One of the grants was awarded to The Friends of Dreamland, a nonprofit that is dedicated to restoring the Dreamland Ballroom, which is known for having notable performers including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

This grant will be used to primarily restore features of the Dreamland Ballroom including the front-of-house, stage and other smaller projects.

The Friends of Dreamland have previously received two grants from the African American Civil Rights Grant Program. Those grants were used to make changes to the Dreamland Ballroom so that it would be more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“This competitive grant program is just one of the many ways the National Park Service is working to preserve and interpret the lesser-known facets of our nation’s shared history,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said. “From physical restoration projects to surveys, documentation, and education, this years’ grant funds will help many of our state, tribal, local and non-profit partners advance their preservation goals.”

The restoration of the Dreamland Ballroom is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2022 and opened as a fully-accessible public event space for the first time in 50 years.

To see the full list of recipients of this grants, head to