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Virtual Illinois: A Roadside Guide (vrillinois) combines location-aware technologies, user-friendly web-mapping applications (e.g., Google Maps, Mapquest), and the rich historic datasets of the Illinois State Museum to develop mobile and web applications to allow users to navigate historic landscapes in real time. This guide will allow the public to query the database on their mobile devices by theme (e.g., art, paleontology, etc.) and create virtual storylines through the use of tagged data points. It will be built so that nontechnical staff can add content to the framework with ease. It will also be a community resource, allowing local historical institutions and the public to add data, comment on existing data, and customize the framework for their own use.
Tribal museums have a valuable role to play as physical repositories of ritual objects that are currently in use, providing protection, care, and respect. The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum will use its grant to establish a legal framework that spells out the responsibilities of museums in storing and protecting cultural heritage without transferring ownership, and outside a typical loan agreement. Sample legal agreements and contracts, along with standards and procedures, will be developed and made available through outreach programs for other museums to use.
Natural History museums have identified a need to transform their traditional spaces into vital forces for science education. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) will implement “Seeing as a Scientist,” a design-based research initiative to develop and test gallery interventions that have the potential to increase scientific observation skills for family groups. Working with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), CMNH will pilot a series of quick changes and additions to dioramas and outline expectations for each. Visitors will be observed to measure the degree of engagement in scientific observation (deliberate looking in order to understand visual evidence)--an essential skill for learning across scientific disciplines. The four most promising interventions will be evaluated to determine which are most successful in providing the necessary support for families to establish shared focus and two-way, science-based conversation. The project will include a blog to share information and to disseminate the results to other museums.
The UC Davis Arboretum will address the challenge of effectively managing increasingly complex museum projects that involve multiple teams, communities and outside partners through a project to rapidly prototype, test, and evaluate the use of low-cost cloud-based collaborative tools that can help museum staff reduce the stress of managing their inboxes while improving efficiency and effectiveness. Museums across the U.S. are in the midst of transforming their institutions to support 21st century skills, yet their own back of house operations often rely on outdated technical tools; many museums still use email as the primary tool for managing tasks, collaborating on documents, making and tracking group decisions, coordinating schedules, communicating ideas and idea development, and for overall project management. Although individual museums will need to devise their own strategic approach to collaborating online, UC Davis will produce a roadmap and white paper as a valuable resource to guide the museum field along the first steps toward replacing emails with online collaborative workspaces.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will improve its delivery of programs and services to its diverse audiences by enhancing staff capacity to effectively utilize technology. With the recent installation of new interactive exhibits and a fiber optic network, the museum will now develop the skills of its staff to more fully utilize these new opportunities to support education programs and services. The museum will hire a computer and information systems assistant to provide technical support for exhibitions and staff functions, and a series of training programs for all staff will be offered in Internet and software applications. The project will promote greater efficiency between the various museum departments through improved communication and coordination, information sharing, data collection and analysis, and external communication with visitors and other constituents.
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.
The Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) will undertake a two-year project to develop a traveling exhibit and public programs to illuminate cultural traditions of giving in African American communities and the history of black philanthropy through artful photography and insightful first-person narratives. The library staff at JCSU will begin working with key local partners to design, curate and fabricate the exhibition as well as create collateral educational and marketing materials in print and online. The exhibition’s touring schedule at college campuses and cultural museums and institutions, primarily throughout the South, will include robust community programming during each four to six week exhibition period.
Feleti Barstow Public Library, the designated State Library Administrative Agency for the U.S. Territory of American Samoa, will expand electronic access to the Polynesian Photo Archives (PPA) and sustain regional access to databases. Established in 2000, the PPA collection contains nearly 800,000 images related to the territory’s history, traditions, and culture. Funds will support staffing and archival processing costs to ensure that historic still and moving images from the American Samoa government are preserved and made accessible to the public. As the founding member of the Information Literacy Consortium, a regional collective of libraries in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific region, Feleti Barstow Public Library will also support continued access to EBSCOHost databases.
Through the purchase and installation of library automation software, the Federated States of Micronesia’s Office of National Archives, Culture and Historic Preservation (NACH) will enhance collection management among its four main islands, which are hundreds of miles apart. Six participating libraries that serve students and the public will receive installation assistance and training for the new software. The project will pave the way for the development of a catalog that allows searching across different library collections and facilitates interlibrary loan. In this way, it will lead to increased resource sharing and give students and the general public access to enhanced collections.
The Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, Albany State University, North Georgia College and State University, and the College of Coastal Georgia, will build a statewide institutional repository (IR) called the GALILEO Knowledge Repository. The partners will also host a national symposium on statewide and consortial repositories, create instructional materials, conduct consortial IR training, and offer consulting services. This project will advance scholarly communication by expanding the use of IRs by U.S. colleges and universities and by increasing the number of professionals with knowledge and skills in managing consortial IRs.