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Museum Grants for African American History and Culture Announcement
July 2011

District of Columbia  |  Florida  |  Illinois  |  Indiana  |  Iowa  |  Kansas  |  Louisiana  |  Maryland  

Mississippi  |  New York  |  North Carolina  |  Pennsylvania  |  Virginia 

District of Columbia

African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum - Washington, DC
Award Amount: $121,050

Contact: Dr. Frank Smith
Executive Director

The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum will use its grant to tell a more complete story of the more than 200,000 members of the Union Army's United States Colored Troops (USCT) regiments. It will use geographic information system (GIS) technology to survey and map relevant African American historical sites and provide training to volunteers and docents. Intensive training by experts in GIS mapping, archaeology, museum studies, and African American history will enable five staff members to become proficient in the technology. Training sessions for 30 docents will focus on best practices in museum interpretation and African American Civil War soldier history. The GIS data and site information will be available and accessible to the public through enhanced interpretation and through the museum's Web site.


Florida A&M University - Tallahassee, FL
Award Amount: $149,454

Contact: Dr. Murell Dawson

Florida A&M University's (FAMU's) Inspiring Authorities in Museum Management Program will address the national shortage of African Americans with advanced museum training. As the number one producer of African American baccalaureate degree holders, FAMU has an untapped reservoir of talented African American students who can be expertly trained in museum practices. Over a two-year period, FAMU will identify six graduate students from various disciplines and train them for careers in museums in collaboration with the Meek-Eaton Black Archives and Museum. The students will receive financial assistance, allowing them to focus on their work in archival, marketing, development, and other community engagement endeavors. They will also attend professional conferences and assist with the continuing development of the center's oral history laboratory and digital archives.



Shorefront - Evanston, IL
Award Amount: $5,080

Contact: Mr. Dino Robinson
Founder & Curator

Shorefront, which collects, preserves, and educates about black history along Chicago's North Shore, will use IMLS funding to assist current staff in strengthening their collection management skills, developing a collections policy, and preparing a catalog of current holdings. Staff will prepare a collections policy that reflects the mission of the organization and produce a catalog of Shorefront's collection. Material will be displayed on a rotating basis. The grant will also support professional development opportunities for staff including attendance at museum conferences and training in nonprofit management.


Evansville African American Museum - Evansville, IN
Award Amount: $99,272

Contact: Lana Burton

The Evansville African American Museum will produce a new strategic plan while strengthening its organizational structure and increasing its visibility. The museum will hire a projects director/curator who will serve in a critical role during the strategic planning process and in activities to support the museum as an important resource in serving community needs. The strategic plan will begin with a Museum Assessment Program institutional assessment that identifies areas in need of improvement and continue with the implementation of recommendations in the second year of the grant. In partnership with the University of Southern Indiana, the museum will host four paid internships. Museum staff and interns will interview longtime Baptistown residents to support a new exhibition on the town's history from the 1930s to the 1960s. The grant will also provide training for staff and board members with a focus on best practices in museum administration, preservation, interpretation, and archival management.



African American Heritage Foundation - Cedar Rapids, IA
Award Amount: $19,593

Contact: Mr. Benjamin Hoover
Development Associate
319-862-2101 ext. 14;

The African American Museum of Iowa will train two college interns to conduct a complete inventory and reorganization of the more than 4,000 items and 150 linear feet of material in the museum's collection. Since its opening in 1997 as the only institution dedicated to preserving the African American history of Iowa, the museum's collections have grown significantly as a result of outreach activities throughout the state. The inventory is vital as it follows the disruption caused by the flooding of 2008, which damaged more than 30 percent of the collections. The inventory of this unique collection will ensure that it is properly catalogued, labeled, and stored in optimum conditions. Training will also be provided for museum staff to expand their knowledge and skills in collections care and use of collections in interpretation and education.


Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center - Des Moines, IA
Award Amount: $27,240

Contact: Michael Kates

The Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center interprets the history of the first Officer Candidate School to include African Americans, the first Medical and Dental Officer Training Camps to include African Americans, and the first Officer School to include African American women. Working with five colleges and universities in the Des Moines area, the museum will hire six research interns to research and write biographies about the officers, doctors, and women who trained at Fort Des Moines. The goal is to add at least 50 biographies to an online database of African Americans trained at Fort Des Moines. In addition, the museum will recruit two curatorial interns who will use the information from this research to create new exhibit panels for the museum. The project also provides training in collections management to expand the curator's knowledge of collections care and preservation practices.


Kansas African American Museum - Wichita, KS
Award Amount: $106,346

Contact: Prisca Barnes

The Kansas African American Museum seeks to sustain and expand its services in schools and with its statewide audience by creating a department of education. The educational director will establish a new literacy-based youth program for at-risk middle and high school students, and will continue the existing museum educational programs targeting senior citizens and elementary school students. A curriculum specialist will be contracted to develop content for the new youth program. IMLS funding will also be used to create a university internship program to recruit and hire public history, anthropology, or museum studies students. The student interns will gain direct practical experience with collections management and educational programming.


Amistad Research Center - New Orleans, LA
Award Amount: $64,476

Contact: Mr. Lee Hampton

The Amistad Research Center will increase its capacity to care for and exhibit its collection of fine art by African American artists by building on a recent successful collaboration with the New Orleans Museum of Art. The center was devastated by a 70 percent reduction in staff after Hurricane Katrina. Project funds will be used to recruit and hire an experienced registrar/curator and provide training to strengthen knowledge of museum practices for the remaining staff. The registrar/curator will catalog and inventory the museum's art collection, improve the permanent storage facilities, and develop and market traveling exhibitions using the center's fine arts collection. The project will allow the center to align itself with best practices and implement traveling exhibitions targeted toward underserved populations.


Morgan State University - Baltimore, MD
Award Amount: $150,000

Contact: Mr. Gabriel Tenabe
Director, Office of Museums

This grant will support the hiring of a new director of education and volunteer coordinator to respond to an increase in the demand for museum education programs. Teachers' packets, resource guides, and a volunteer handbook will be created. A recruitment strategy will be developed to attract and train 100 volunteers to work as docents, education assistants, collections assistants, and special events support. In addition, a digitization specialist will be hired to expand access to images and archival materials from the museum collections for students, faculty, museum staff, and researchers by converting primary and other source materials into digital files for online presentation. Morgan State University is the only HBCU to offer a graduate degree in museums studies and historic preservation and is the home of two museums in addition to the Center for Museums and Historic Preservation.


Jackson State University - Jackson, MS
Award Amount: $48,525

Contact: Dr. Robert Luckett
MWC Director & Assistant Professor of History

Founded by the author Margaret Walker in 1968, the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University is an archive and museum that continues to uphold her artistic and academic legacy through its manuscript holdings, oral history collections, exhibits, and public programs. The Walker Center is currently housed in Ayer Hall, the oldest building on the Jackson State campus. Staff and students will study and compare the best practices of successful museums and archives located around the country, particularly sites with recent construction or expansion projects. The results of this research will support the planning and feasibility analysis for potential new locations in the Jackson community for a publicly accessible, state-of-the-art museum and research complex dedicated to the African American experience, the first of its kind in Mississippi.

New York

Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History - Brooklyn, NY
Award Amount: $150,000

Contact: Ms. Pamela Green
Executive Director

The Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History preserves several historic structures along with a new LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) education and cultural arts building at the Weeksville Heritage Center. IMLS funding will allow the organization to hire a LEED-trained facilities manager with the skills necessary to operate the new Education and Cultural Arts Building and the ability to continue the preservation of the historic structures at Weeksville. The facilities manager will compile a best-practices document about effective and sustainable methods of managing historic properties and new facilities. The facilities manager will also oversee restoration projects for the historic houses and repurpose and outfit exhibition space and collection storage options. In addition, IMLS funds will provide opportunities for internal staff development and a case study for other African American historic sites interested in expanding their space and community relevance.

North Carolina

Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture - Charlotte, NC
Award Amount: $150,000

Contact: David Taylor

The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture will build the skill sets of employees responsible for collection management by implementing the recommendations of its 2010 Museum Assessment Program collections assessment report. Funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will support a full-time registrar who can fully implement a collection policy to manage and make accessible the museum's art collection. In addition, the project will help inventory, catalog, and secure the permanent collection including the purchase of new storage equipment. A conservator will be hired to conduct a full assessment of the collections and provide recommendations and priorities for future collection care activities. The Gantt Center will also provide training on the importance of collection management to board members. Staff training will include attendance at national museum management and collection conservation meetings and workshops.


Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts - Winson-Salem, NC
Award Amount: $119,652

Contact: Mrs. Dianne Caesar
Executive Director

Winston-Salem Delta Fine Arts will strengthen its organizational structure and capacity through training for staff and board members, while increasing the quality and quantity of programs and outreach to the community at the Delta Arts Center. Building on the recommendations of a recent Museum Assessment Program institutional assessment, this project will provide training for the board of directors and staff in nonprofit management, museum operations, and programming. In addition, educational activities and programming will increase with the hiring of a full-time program developer. An advisory committee of board, staff, and community members will be established to develop and guide community outreach efforts. The staff's improved knowledge and skills will benefit community programming and increase staff networking abilities and job retention.


African American Museum in Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Award Amount: $149,287

Contact: Leslie Guy
Curator of Collections & Conservator
215-574-0380 ext. 223;

The African American Museum in Philadelphia will create resources for smaller museums through a project that trains future African American museum professionals. The museum's Fellowship and Seminar Series Program will provide year-long museum fellowships for four African American Studies graduate students. The graduate fellows will work with experienced museum professionals to become familiar with the challenges facing smaller museums. Each fellow will conduct two site visits to interview staff and complete field assessments of these institutions. The fellows will also create an independent project utilizing the museum's collection. In addition, a seminar series will target smaller museums with an African American focus located in the Philadelphia region. The seminars cover the fundamentals of museum management and the basics of collections care and will provide professional expertise to these smaller organizations in a familiar forum and through a trusted source.


Hampton University - Hampton, VA
Award Amount: $95,631

Contact: Ms. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward
Curator of Collections

The Hampton University Museum will continue to digitize and make accessible its photograph and art collection, resulting in an online art gallery and an organized digital collection that is more accessible to staff and researchers. Training will be provided to staff, volunteers, and students in methods of digitizing and organizing images. This project will digitize transparencies and slides from the fine art collection as well as negatives and prints from the Reuben V. Burrell Photographic Collection; Burrell was a campus photographer for over 65 years. In addition, funding will foster professional development and skill development by supporting the participation of archives and curatorial staff in local workshops and national conferences. A third component of this project will be a series of Saturday exploratory workshops that will introduce local African American high school students to careers in the museum field.