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The National Aquarium will establish the Urban Climate Action Network for Youth, a national urban climate change youth corps. This project will leverage the specialized resources and expertise of the aquarium, the American Planning Association, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition to form, train, and activate a network of youth from underserved neighborhoods in 8 cities nationwide. Mentor adults and scientists will provide guidance as the youth, organized into teams, collaborate with their peers to develop and implement climate change action plans within their local communities. Teams will travel to Baltimore for a week of experiential learning and interaction with leading climate scientists and communications experts at the National Aquarium. They will return to their communities to implement their action plans with support through regular Skype sessions and site visits by project staff. The project will result in an innovative model targeted to underserved populations that is adaptable and scalable for other urban-based aquariums and museums.
The American Association for State and Local History will strengthen history museums and related organizations by improving the training available to their paid and unpaid professionals. Beginning with an assessment of the association's current continuing education and professional development programs, the association will examine how the historical community's training needs have been served, and how organizations inside and outside the history museum field have provided professional development opportunities. The association will also conduct interviews about current and emerging training needs. The project deliverable will be a comprehensive, evolutionary Continuing Education and Professional Development Framework that augments graduate education, serves professionals at every stage of their careers, and reaches lifelong learners and avocational historians. The framework will identify the value of the association's training programs for professionals; create a refined vision statement, outcomes, and metrics; establish a curriculum of courses, workshops, and webinars; define target audiences and ideal formats for reaching those audiences; and outline systems for evaluation and experimentation.
In partnership with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Children's Museums, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers, the San Jose Children's Museum will expand the scope of the Cultural Competency Learning Institute (CCLI). Launched in 2012, the CCLI is both a professional development process and a set of resources designed to help museums increase their institutional capacity for addressing diversity and inclusion. The museum will invite 15-18 museums to join this community of practice, and will develop, track, promote, and support their efforts to become more engaged with issues of inclusion and cultural competence. The project team will develop benchmarks, metrics, and indicators to gauge progress and to document shifts in museums across discipline by conducting a field-wide national landscape survey. The training model invites and supports museums to identify and build from their strengths in order to maximize the benefits of diversity within their workforce and improve the services offered to people from different backgrounds.
The Clubhouse Network: A Global Community for Creativity and Achievement, a program of Boston's Museum of Science, will develop, pilot, and evaluate Light it Up! Engaging Young People in Digital Making Activities. Digital making activities combine design, computational thinking, and engineering practices that are all fundamental learning skills for the 21st century. Over the course of six months, the project team will develop a one-day, hands-on workshop that will give museum educators strategies to inspire a more diverse population of middle and high school-aged youth to consider educational and career pathways in STEM fields through engagement with local science centers. The workshop will be implemented twice with a group of 12 educators from regional museums. The museum will use tested evaluation tools to improve the quality and outcomes of the workshops. A successful prototype and evaluation will result in practices that can be adapted by other museums and cultural institutions to better reach young people with digital making activities.
Naper Settlement will partner with five museums-Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, History Museum at the Castle, Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, Ohio History Connection, and Kansas African American Museum-to launch "Unvarnished: Moving History Organizations to Interpret De Facto Segregation in the Northern and Western United States." The project will convene history museums in a collaborative learning community, along with scholars, practitioners, evaluators, and program specialists, to become thought leaders in advancing more inclusive narratives of systemic racial and religious de facto segregation, including restrictive housing covenants and sundown towns. Project activities will include assessment surveys, historical research, methodology workshops, and field study visits. Tools and methodologies will be disseminated through an online toolkit of model practices, a digital online exhibit, and publications. The toolkit will promote more inclusive historical narratives, and help museums foster dialog about stories of the past that impact today's Americans.
The Broad museum will formalize and expand its pilot Diversity Apprenticeship Program that trains new recruits and enhances the skills of existing staff from underrepresented communities for more rewarding, higher paid positions. The museum will build a replicable model for hiring and training preparators and art handlers through apprenticeships supported by partners from the nonprofit, government, and commercial sectors. A program manager experienced with recruiting and nurturing diverse talent will hire eight apprentices from underrepresented communities for two consecutive nine-month periods. The apprentices will rotate to at least three partner sites to participate in hands-on work, training activities, and group fieldtrips to museums and other cultural destinations. The museum will develop a mentorship component and a blended learning curriculum that provide training in best practices for handling, installing, and packing artwork. Project materials and findings will be shared both online and at national and international conferences.
The Association of Children's Museums will partner with NewKnowledge, a nonprofit think tank and planning group, and IMPLAN Group, a provider of economic impact data, to prototype a model for assessing the economic impact of children's museums and the field at large. The project team will conduct economic impact analyses that quantify the operational economic influence of children's museums, as well as the impact of local and out-of-area visitors to children's museums. The project will produce a report that details the economic impact of the children's museum sector which will be evaluated by children's museums for its utility and perceived value for the field. The resulting model will be shared with other museum associations to guide and inform future efforts to understand the economic impact of museums at national, regional, state, and local levels.
Chicago's Brookfield Zoo will conduct a large-scale, multi-institutional study to address the welfare of cetaceans in zoos and aquariums and to understand how physical habitat, environmental enrichment, and animal training influence the welfare of bottlenose dolphins. In partnership with 39 accredited zoos and aquariums, the Brookfield Zoo will gather data from 336 common and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, 21 belugas, and nine Pacific white-sided dolphins. The first component of the project will compile physiological health data from the three study species. The second component will identify factors that influence the welfare of bottlenose dolphins by applying a scientific approach with targeted research questions commonly asked within institutions. To strengthen the interpretation of results, the study will measure welfare across three dimensions: activity and movement; behavior; and physiology. The project unites cetacean-holding zoos and aquariums in a timely effort to understand how to provide cetaceans with the highest quality of care directed by scientific evidence.
The University of California at Santa Cruz will advance the stewardship of natural history collections by developing new tools and resources to support both museum curators and the community of researchers that use these collections. The first component of the project will assess the influence of temperature and preservation approaches on the survival of biomolecules in museum collections. The project team will then develop and refine a new protocol to recover genomic data from specimens preserved in formalin, as is common in natural history collections. The project will culminate with the development of resources for museum professionals that will assist in protecting, preserving, and making use of natural history collections using state-of-the-art genetic and proteomic approaches. Resources will include training documents and workshops, led by a collaborative team of genomic and museum professionals, at which participants will perform hands-on experiments and explore best-practice recommendations for sample storage and conservation, and approaches to and likelihood of biomolecular recovery.
Mississippi State University, in collaboration with Michigan State University, Fort Worth Zoo, the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Central Florida Zoo, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Amphibian Taxonomic Advisory Group, will lead a multi-institutional project to develop innovative and exportable assisted reproductive technologies to create the country's first salamander genome resource bank and provide the necessary training to continue sustainability of these living collections. The captive assurance colonies for a number of threatened salamander species that are established in zoos and aquariums around the world are no longer sustainable and in danger of collapse. The project's research and training objectives are to develop innovative technologies for the collection and cryopreservation of salamander reproductive material; test the transferability of protocols for application to salamander collections care management; and advance knowledge by training the current and next generation of professionals in these technologies so they are transferable, exportable, and sustainable at a national level.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife will partner with the Lyon Arboretum to conduct a three-year research study to address the challenges of the off-site conservation of endangered exceptional plants (EEPs)-plants that are not able to be conserved in seed banks. This project will improve the ability of botanical gardens and other institutions to address the significant informational, scientific, and cost challenges of EEPs by providing new information on protocols used for conserving EEPs, an annotated list of EEPs, genetic information to guide the banking and use of these collections, and a network and website to continue facilitating future research and collaboration between institutions.