The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is pleased to announce that 178 museums across the country will receive a total of $19, 550, 456 in Museums for America (MFA) grants. These museums, chosen from 510 applicants, represent 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Grants will support high-priority activities that advance the missions and strategic goals of these museums, helping them to serve the public more effectively.
“This year’s MFA grant recipients are truly an exciting and diverse group of museums, representing the remarkable ways that large and small institutions are serving communities. Funded projects support digitization and collections management plans, enhanced accessibility, environmental literacy, and much more. The work of these institutions will educate and inspire citizens of all ages, ” said Acting Director Marsha L. Semmel. “IMLS is pleased to support museums as they engage their communities through programming tailored to their specific needs, and this round of MFA grants furthers this work.”
Awarded in three categories (engaging communities, building institutional capacity, and collections stewardship), MFA grants fund projects such as educational programs and exhibits, staff and volunteer training, research, planning, technological upgrades, and equipment purchases. This year, MFA grant awards include projects such as:
The Massachusetts Audubon Society in Lincoln, MA, will add ADA-accessible elements to eight nature trails. These enhancements will provide culturally-competent content and experiences that are sensory-rich, tactile, universally themed, and designed for visitors who have rarely had the opportunity to visit a wildlife sanctuary.
The University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in Albuquerque, NM, will develop a collaborative digital repository for New Mexico museums. This innovative repository will provide participating museums with a cost-effective long-term data storage capability and a public access Web site to foster and support collaboration and education across disciplinary, social, political, and geographical boundaries.
The New York Hall of Science in Queens, NY, will begin The Sustainable Community Collaborations Project which will engage local Hispanic, Chinese, and Korean communities in a process to develop science programming. Programming will be steeped in the cultural and scientific histories of these groups and will make science accessible by embedding it within familiar cultural traditions.
The Arkansas Museum of Science and History in Little Rock, AR, will create two new exhibit experiences: “Tornado Alley Object Theater” and “Extreme Weather Channel.” The exhibits will educate visitors on the causes, potential effects, and safety measures to follow when threatened by tornados—an event familiar to the region.
Historical Society of Saginaw County in Saginaw, MI, will facilitate “History on the Move, ” a unique mobile classroom, which will teach local history in a modified tractor-trailer. The project addresses the need for substantive local history education in Saginaw County, Michigan, and provides an innovative solution to the lack of time and funding for students to visit museums during the school day.
The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, OH, will create a team of staff members representing education, curatorial, conservation, and collections departments to jointly interpret 425 art works in the museum’s Lifelong Learning Center. These “Behind the Scenes” spaces will introduce visitors to the concepts of collecting, understanding, preserving, and presenting works of art.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA, will expand its professional development programs for teachers, providing 450 teachers with new tools, skills, and the support they need to engage and inspire approximately 49, 500 students to gain the basic ocean science and critical thinking skills necessary to be effective citizens and ocean stewards. An online professional community will also allow teachers to network with their colleagues about their successes and roadblocks through wikis, blogs, and mentor connections.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123, 000 libraries and 17, 500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.