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Co-Hosting the IMLS Web-Wise Conferences 2004 -- This one year project will support the 2004 IMLS Web-Wise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World. The conference, which addresses broad issues in the application of technology to enhance museum and libray services, will be held in Chicago and co-hosted by IMLS.
The Goodspeed Manuscript Collection Project will produce a digital collection of 65 Greek, Syriac, Ethiopian, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts dating from the seventh to the nineteenth centuries. Created in many of the key production centers of Asia Minor, the Balkans, Armenia, and North Africa, these resources are seriously understudied because access is currently limited to individual, on-site consultation. The manuscripts are of great artistic and historical, significance and include examples of the Byzantine and Eastern schools of manuscript illumination. The digital collection project will allow, free to the public, comparative and cross-cultural textual and iconographic research through open source interfaces for searching, browsing, page turning, and zooming in and out of high-resolution images.
The Oriental Institute Museum will complete a multi-phased project to consolidate its systems and assets into one cohesive collections management system. Activities include migrating diverse digital records including 141,396 archival and Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes records, 24,000 items documented in an Access database, and thousands of Excel spreadsheets and Word documents into its collections management database system. The project will address the fragmented state of the museum's data management infrastructure, improve access to its collection, enhance access beyond the museum's walls to diverse audiences, and contribute to the museum's institutional management and growth. The project will foster knowledge transfer from content experts to the museum's collection records and expand public outreach capabilities well into the future.
Purpose: Sustaining Cultural Heritage As a noncollecting museum, the Renaissance Society's contribution to the museum field resides in the documentation of its exhibitions and events. The museum runs an active publishing program and has published dozens of catalogs that document singular exhibitions and are designed to provide social and art historical context for the works shown. New technologies and the rapid ascent of the Internet as a mainstream information tool provide unprecedented opportunities for the museum to fulfill its essential mission-to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art-through dissemination of current programming and archival materials. In a three-part project, the society will expand and enhance the museum's Web site, addressing how it disseminates programming and materials and how it meets the needs of its varied users. Phase 1 of the project (already under way) involves restructuring the Web site to include a searchable database and to accommodate audio and video clips. Phase 2 involves determining the Web site's content beyond the current scope-reviewing documentation of exhibitions between 1975 and 1996 and selecting material for the Web site, and digitizing microfilm archives documenting 1915 through 1975. In phase 3, the Web site will be promoted and marketed to broaden and diversify its audiences.
Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago will redesign its Web site to increase and more deeply engage target audiences and build organizational capacity. By digitizing Gallery 400’s 25-year history, with edited audio and video documentation and interactive features, the project will make this little-known history publicly accessible for the first time. The new Web site will help build future audiences for contemporary art, document the history of contemporary art, and develop public understanding of recent art, architecture, and design.
The Oriental Institute Museum will begin a three-phase integrated database project directed toward producing and developing—for in-house and public use—a fully integrated database management system of the museum’s collection. The museum will move its diverse digital data into a new integrated database that will allow for significant improvements in the management of collections. It will also allow for broad public access to their collections, almost none of which are currently available online. The Oriental Institute Museum is a major component of the Oriental Institute, a research unit of the University of Chicago that is devoted to the study of the archaeology, history, and languages of the civilizations of the ancient Middle East.
The Oriental Institute Museum will undertake Phase II of its integrated database project to improve its data management infrastructure and thereby increase its ability to provide information about its ancient Middle East collections to diverse audiences around the world, including scholars and researchers to K-12 educators and students, 21st-century learners, and the general public. In Phase I of the project, also supported by IMLS, staff moved registration and research archives datasets into a new KE EMu collections management system. In Phase II, they will import 92,000 images with associated metadata and approximately 70,000 conservation records into the new system. They will also conduct three user focus groups to develop the next iteration of the web interface.
The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Gallery 400 will launch a major initiative addressing how citizens sustain themselves in today’s economy. Gallery 400 will hire a community engagement manager to work with new partner groups in its Near West Side neighborhood and in other critical Chicago neighborhoods on visual arts programming that can best address the employment and economic issues facing Chicago’s citizens. Individuals from these community partners will serve on an advisory board that will take an active role in the gallery’s exhibition and public program planning, presentation, and evaluation processes. Gallery 400 will work with this board to develop three exhibitions and eleven public program lectures, performances, film screenings, and literary events addressing economic issues.
The Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago will undertake phase four of its Integrated Database Project to improve its fragmented data management infrastructure. Project activities will include registration and digitization of the institute's archival material from excavations in Iraq and Syria; migration of 40,000 epigraphic survey records to an integrated database; registration and partial digitization of epigraphic survey paper records; and assessment of independent digital projects associated with the museum's holdings. Records imported or created during this phase will be linked to datasets transferred in previous phases, and all non-sensitive data will be available through public online access. The cohesive collection management system will contribute to the institute's management of growth, improve its infrastructure and internal access, expand its public outreach capabilities, and preserve access for global audiences.
To purchase new storage cabinets and conservation materials in which to properly rehouse a portion of the Museum's collection of Nubian artifacts, ranging from fragile textiles and small pieces of jewelry to large ceramic storage jars and stone stelae. The Nubian material was excavated by the Museum's archaeologists during the 1960s' rescue operations in the area that was subsequently flooded by construction of the Aswan Dam. $85,052.
The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum will use its grant to purchase and install new storage cabinets in which to properly rehouse the museum’s collection of archaeological objects. These objects include Nubian organic materials of leather, wood, and textiles; ceramic vessels from Serra (Nubia); remains from the sites of Megiddo, Alishar, and Nippur; and large stone sculptural fragments from Khorsabad.
The Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago will upgrade storage conditions for archaeological collections consisting of a range of excavated materials from Megiddo, Israel, and four Nubian sites: Bab Kalabsha, Ballana, Qasr el Wizz, and Qustul. The 2,111 objects range from oversized storage jars to small shell and bone artifacts. Grant funds will be used to purchase museum-quality storage cabinets, heavy-duty industrial pallet racks, and archival packing materials needed for the rehousing. This project will allow the museum to better care for these objects and provide better access for researchers and museum visitors.
The Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago, IL will use grant funds to restore and conserve two 19th century Russian icons – Holy Trinity with Saints and Angels and Deesis with Saints Michael and George – that have fragile and unstable paint surfaces. These wood panels are painted with egg tempera and gold leaf and are examples of the Western Catholic influence on traditional Byzantine Orthodox imagery introduced in the court of Peter the Great. Once conserved, these works will be presented with panels describing the conservation process. Working with the large Russian immigrant community in Chicago, the museum will also host a series of public programs and web-based exhibits.
Researchers at Loyola University of Chicago and Northwestern University will partner with the Chicago Children's Museum and the Evanston Public Library to conduct design-based research addressing the ways engineering experts incorporate the use of objects and oral narratives into inquiry-based STEM programs for families in libraries and museums. They will test timing and introduction of objects in conjunction with engineering experts' oral narratives; and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. The project will involve community experts, including students from Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering, and members of the local tinkering and maker movement. The university and its partners will develop evidence-based and actionable recommendations and resources on project design based on the strengths and weaknesses recorded during the research. They will also create a set of codes that practitioners can use while observing children and families during programs. The codes will aid in program evaluation and in understanding the STEM learning process by highlighting key concepts in the words children and families use.