21st Century Museum Professionals
September 2012 Grant Announcement

California  |  Colorado  |  Florida  |  Indiana  |  Massachusetts  |  North Carolina  |  Puerto Rico  |  Texas 


Balboa Park Cultural Partnership - San Diego, CA
Congressional District: CA_53
Award Amount: $247,960; Matching Amount: $317,820

Contact: Ms. Paige Simpson
Director, Balboa Park Learning Institute
(619)232-7502x1206; paige.simpson@bpcp.org

The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, a collaboration of 26 arts, science, and cultural institutions, operates a professional development program, the Balboa Park Learning Institute (BPLI). BPLI creates and implements professional development that advances knowledge and skills; builds networks and community; promotes collaborative learning and experimentation; and effects individual, organizational, and park-wide change. BPLI will use its grant to transform the "Balboa Park Experience" a park-wide approach to understanding visitor experience through a suite of BPLI programs focused on audience engagement. The project will address the strategies for increasing attendance and broadening the audience, deepening and enriching the visitor experience, and diversifying and attracting a wider range of people. This collaborative learning project will include 48 sessions, 28 workshops, a symposium, and new affinity group meetings for the 3000 staff of the 26 institutions in the partnership.


San Jose Children's Discovery Museum - San Jose, CA
Congressional District: CA_16
Award Amount: $240,930; Matching Amount: $253,305

Contact: Ms. Jennifer Martin
Director of Education and Programs
(408)298-5437x280; jmartin@cdm.org

The San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum will join with museum industry partners to design an organizational change model that spurs continuous achievements along a cultural competence spectrum. The "Cultural Competence Learning Institute" will be an adaptable system, ultimately disseminated through the Association of Science-Technology Center's Diversity and Equity program with additional support from the Association of Children’s Museums. The project incorporates tested, real-world strategies that combine a 21st century skills-based curriculum, rich resources, and an implementation strategy. It is supported by a peer learning process, partnerships with forward-thinking leaders that combine the best ideas and models with in-the-trenches experience, a flexible model that can be used by institutions of varying size and context, and broad dissemination via museum associations.



Denver Museum of Nature and Science - Denver, CO
Congressional District: CO_01
Award Amount: $244,897; Matching Amount: $291,632

Contact: Ms. Kathleen Tinworth
Director of Visitor Research & Program Eval.
(303)370-6136; Kathleen.Tinworth@dmns.org

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science, through Denver-area Evaluation Network (DEN) a collaborative of 15 cultural organizations, will positively influence evaluative thinking, implementation, and use in diverse Mountain-Plains museums. Over the course of the project, DEN museum professionals will 1) receive extensive professional development; 2) conduct four network-wide and 30 individual institution evaluations; 3) attend and present on project process and results at the Colorado-Wyoming Association on Museums, Mountain-Plains Museum Association, and Visitor Studies Association conferences; 4) build evaluation capacity internally with senior leadership, staff, and volunteers; 5) disseminate both online and on paper; and 6) pilot an online evaluation toolkit specifically for museum professionals with limited evaluation background and expertise.



Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Miami, FL
Congressional District: FL_18
Award Amount: $161,452; Matching Amount: $243,650

Contact: Ms. Amy Padolf
Director of Museum Experience
(305)663-8097; apadolf@fairchildgarden.org

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will expand the successful Fairchild Challenge (FC) to additional partner sites and provide intensive training for current partner sites. The FC is an innovative approach to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education that identifies and encourages talented young scientists through a multidisciplinary approach and competition. The FC has proven to be a replicable model for botanic gardens, science centers, zoos, and nature centers that fosters students who are solution-oriented stewards of the environment. The program will address two key needs within informal education institutions: 1) finding effective tools to increase STEM capacity of museums throughout the country with the goal of training a new generation of professionals in environmental science and 2) building a community of like-minded professionals through ongoing professional development that will increase public value in the communities they serve. The museum hopes to directly impact twelve museums through formal training and twenty more through informal recruitment sessions at professional conferences. Project activities include the recruitment of three new institutions to the program, as well as offering current and new FC partners professional development opportunities, such as a series of online workshops, site-specific training, and two summit meetings.



Indiana Historical Society - Indianapolis, IN
Congressional District: IN_07
Award Amount: $152,110; Matching Amount: $152,598

Contact: Dr. Stephen Cox
Executive Vice President
(317)232-1876; scox@indianahistory.org

The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) will develop Local History Partners (LHP), a collaborative approach to training staff in small and predominantly volunteer-operated museums throughout Indiana in the areas of strategic thinking, collections care, and professional museum operations. The LHP coordinator will conduct local collections-care and operations trainings at small and mid-sized museums throughout Indiana. The primary tools of this training will be a peer-to-peer self-assessment process for 90 organizations, and a site-specific collections-care training program for 65 organizations. By training staff to think strategically through the assessment of their own organization and another institution, the program delivers two clear outcomes: (1) growing the leadership skills of paid and unpaid museum professionals, and (2) facilitating the development of sustainable institutional action plans for multiple organizations that will endure through leadership changes.



New England Aquarium Corporation - Boston, MA
Congressional District: MA_09
Award Amount: $221,382; Matching Amount: $221,424

Contact: Dr. Michael Tlusty
Director of Research
(617)973-6715; mtlusty@neaq.org

The New England Aquarium, through a partnership with Roger Williams University, will create a program to enable more institutions to produce their own exhibit marine fish from their collections through the creation of a small turn-key modular larval rearing unit, workshops to train 18 aquarists on rearing larvae, the provision of appropriate foods for the larvae, and a web interface in which experiences and challenges can be shared. The New England Aquarium has made great strides toward breeding marine fish, few of which are typically reared in captivity due to the need for specialized handling and food. This project will increase the ability of zoos and aquariums to rear their own exhibit marine fish, reducing the need to collect fish from the wild. It will also contribute to the basic scientific knowledge of early life histories of fish and will create additional exhibition opportunities in showcasing the full life history of marine fish.


North Carolina

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources - Raleigh, NC
Congressional District: NC_04
Award Amount: $202,715; Matching Amount: $253,852

Contact: Ms. LeRae Umfleet
Collections Management Branch Head
(919)807-7289; lerae.umfleet@ncdcr.gov

The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) will expand its statewide disaster preparedness program. Through a partnership with the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies, the North Carolina Museums Council, and the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, the Cultural Resources Emergency Support Team (CREST) will train up to 200 staff and volunteers from a wide variety of museums in improving disaster preparedness initiatives throughout North Carolina. The CREST project will encourage the formation, development, and maintenance of regional cooperative groups and emergency response networks, as well as provide specialized team training to encourage a unified and safe approach to recovery efforts. Eight regional workshops will be offered as well as specialized workshops with expanded curricula for staff and volunteers of museums to prepare them for disasters with planning and hands-on recovery exercises.


Puerto Rico

Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez, Inc. - Gurabo, PR
Congressional District: PR_01
Award Amount: $249,750; Matching Amount: $281,387

Contact: Ms. Carmen Ruiz-Fischler
Professor & Museum Director
(787)744-7979x4334; ctruiz@suagm.edu

The University del Turabo, part of the Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez, Inc. will develop a continuing education program to improve museum skills and knowledge in administration, operations, community services, and collections for museum professionals in Puerto Rico. A survey identified the need among the 500 museum employees in Puerto Rico for workshops and training that were accessible and targeted to meet the needs of the community. The curriculum will feature best practices to promote and improve services to a diverse community. The workshops will serve up to 120 museum professionals in two tracks: 1) Enhancement in Museum Collections and Exhibitions and 2) Museum Administration. The workshops will include lectures, practical field experiences, summer academies, and a virtual library.



Stephen F. Austin State University - Nacogdoches, TX
Congressional District: TX_01
Award Amount: $247,150; Matching Amount: $254,351

Contact: Dr. Theresa Coble
(936)468-1354; tcoble@sfasu.edu

Stephen F. Austin State University, in partnership with Chabot Space and Science Center, the University of California-Berkeley, and West Virginia University, will strengthen museum professionals’ competence and capacity to address complex and controversial science topics using appropriate communication and engagement approaches. "Science and the Public Interface" will bring together museum, state and federal agencies, and academic partners to jointly develop a sequence of five graduate level online courses to build skills in this area. Nested within each course will be break-out content suitable for delivery via workshops and stand-alone content modules. The courses will allow informal science educators to collaboratively challenge their existing beliefs while applying a wide variety of communication strategies, tools, and techniques.