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Awarded Grants Search
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.
The collection, storage, and care of large objects present ongoing challenges for museums of all sizes. The Center for Wooden Boats will test photogrammetry on large collection items, or macro-artifacts, to measure size and monitor changes over time. Changes in dimension can help alert collections managers to the need for active or preventative conservation treatment. The project team will develop, test, and refine a procedure for using photogrammetry to monitor dimensional stability on a variety of watercraft and other maritime macro-artifacts, resulting in procedures that will ultimately be usable in vastly different museum environments and subject areas.
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 Afro-American Cultural Center will build institutional capacity by upgrading its current infrastructure as it transitions to a new facility in downtown Charlotte. The new facility will be known as the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture. Current staff members will be afforded the opportunity to participate in skill-building professional development programs. The museum will create the new positions of staff curator/collections manager and director of operations/facilities manager to help facilitate the move into the larger facility and implement programs and exhibits. The services of a consulting curator will assist with collections care and exhibition. The ambitious project also includes the enhancement of the museum’s Web site and the establishment of an internship program through a new partnership with Johnson C. Smith University to result in a digitization plan for the museum’s collections.
This grant award will create a greater role for The Black Archives History & Research Foundation to effectively interpret the rich tapestry of African American history in the South Florida region. IMLS funds will be used to hire an assistant archivist/collections manager and purchase equipment and supplies to inventory and accession the collection, which includes primary source materials, personal and professional papers, oral histories, photographs, billboards, and African American art. Students from nearby universities will be introduced to the museum profession through the creation of an internship program that will focus on collections management. Professional development opportunities will be provided for current staff members and an executive assistant will be hired to enhance the public impact of the foundation’s Historic Lyric Theater, allowing more time for the executive director to plan for the future of this growing organization.
Located at the Lorraine Motel, the assassination site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the National Civil Rights Museum will use its grant award to meet the needs of a planned renovation to serve a growing audience. IMLS funds will support the establishment of two new positions—a registrar to assist with the care of collections and an education assistant to provide more resources and programming for students, teachers, and families. The museum will also make a significant commitment to professional development by providing training opportunities for over 20 staff members and actively encouraging their participation in presentations, committees, and networking with regional and national professional organizations. An existing internship program with local institutions will be strengthened through the addition of stipends, with a goal of recruiting additional new students from LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis’s HBCU.
The American Jazz Museum will recruit ten undergraduate and graduate college students over a two-year period to launch a pilot internship program to catalog the John Baker Film Collection—one of the largest collections of jazz film in existence. Under the guidance of staff and expert consultants, interns will be introduced to museum work while learning best practices of film research and categorizing and gaining skills in the technical work of inspecting and cataloging these rare resources. The students will also research content and write detailed descriptions of films in the collection for use in the museum’s permanent exhibitions, Web site, educational programming, and the development of a film collection box set intended to generate revenue to sustain the program in the future. Museum staff will carefully select interns with specific qualifications based on prior coursework and technical skills.
In preparation for the opening of its new Education and Cultural Arts Building in 2011, the Weeksville Heritage Center will promote from within to establish a new department and the new position of director of preservation and collections. A fully functioning department of Preservation and Collections will result in a greater focus on historic preservation, collections, and preservation education for the community while dramatically increasing the use of objects and artifacts in the interpretation of this site—one of the first free African American communities in the nation. IMLS funds will also support graduate education courses for the senior education programs curator at Bank Street College.
The Stanback Museum is the only museum with a planetarium on any HBCU campus, allowing the integration of arts, humanities, and sciences in a single facility. The museum will use its grant to strengthen the knowledge and skills of the professional staff and interns in all aspects of collections management. A registrar will be hired and significant progress will be made on completing the accessioning and cataloging of the collection. A consultant will be retained to provide training and assistance with the development of written policies and procedures, including a collections policy and disaster plan. A highly successful internship program will be expanded and enhanced by offering student stipends, and interns will gain additional connections to the museum profession by accompanying staff to the annual meeting of the Association of African American Museums.