Museum Leaders Trade Information, Best Practices at IMLS Convening

February 17, 2010
 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Diane Miller, Senior VP, School and Community Partnerships, St. Louis Science Center, a partner organization with the Exploratorium’s 21MP grant project.

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Washington, DC—On February 4 and 5, 2010, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) convened the first-ever forum of grantees in the 21st Century Museum Professionals Grants program. Meeting at the Beacon Hotel just a few blocks from the IMLS offices, museum professionals gathered to share and discuss successes and challenges in the implementation of grant-funded projects. Selected grantees provided short presentations on projects that are currently underway and fielded questions in panel style Q and A sessions.

Diane Miller, convening participant and senior vice president of School and Community Partnerships at the St. Louis Science Center, commented, "We don’t often get the opportunity to learn from each other in the field. We need to do this on a regular basis. I’ve listened to presentations today and am imagining how I might incorporate some of these practices into my own programs."

In addition to valuable peer-to-peer sharing, participants explored ideas and practices on various topics in small break-out groups on learning formats, evaluation techniques, standards and best practices, and Web-based products and resources. The groups also shared experiences with internship and museum studies programs, partnerships, dissemination of project results, and project sustainability after the grant award.

Marsha L. Semmel, OMS deputy director and director for strategic partnerships, presented on IMLS’s 21st Century Skills Initiative, which focuses on advancing the role of museums and libraries in the development of such 21st century skills as information, communications, and technology literacy; creativity and problem solving; civic literacy; and global awareness. IMLS is encouraging 21MP grant proposals that focus on the development of these 21st century skills. The next deadline is March 15, 2010.

Since its inception in 2005, the 21MP program has awarded 38 grants totaling $9,070,022. Each grant award provides from $15,000 to $500,000 in support of projects that improve the knowledge and skills of museum professionals in multiple institutions. The grants fund the development and implementation of classes, seminars, and workshops, leadership development, and activities that strengthen the use of contemporary technology tools. It is estimated that more than 10,000 museum professionals and more than 3,000 institutions have been impacted by these awards, which ultimately enhance the quality of programs and services provided to the communities served by these museums.

Convening participants included:
Alaska State Museums
American Association for State and Local History
Art Education for the Blind
Association of Children's Museums
Association of Science-Technology Centers
Balboa Park Cultural Partnership
Boston Children's Museum
California Indian Museum and Cultural Center
Cooperstown Graduate Program/Research Foundation--State University of New York, Oneonta
Costume Society of America
Essex County Historical Society
Exploratorium
Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, Office of Sponsored Research
Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Art Works
Lawrence Hall of Science/Regents of the University of California
Mid-America Arts Alliance
National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers
New England Aquarium
Phoenix Zoo
Seton Hall University
UC Davis Arboretum/University of California
University of Washington
USS Constitution Museum Foundation
Utah Humanities Council

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.