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The Hampton University Museum will expand the accessibility of its African American art collection through a three-year collection management software implementation project. Building on a recently completed inventory and digital documentation project, the museum will engage a data manager to input data to its collections management system on paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and fiber arts. The collections data manager will lead training sessions for the museum's curatorial team to ensure their proficiency in using the software system and their ability to carry on the work at the end of the grant period. In each year of the project, four student interns will work with the staff to scan curatorial records including catalog cards and accession paperwork. The museum will present small, online exhibitions that will make the collections more fully accessible to scholars, educators, students, and the public.
The African American Civil War Museum will strengthen its educational programming for schools by engaging a greater number of teachers and designing new curriculum resources to support social studies curriculum standards. The Museum Passport to Freedom Program is designed to encourage museum visitation by students from low-income homes and provides transportation support to schools in the area. The Museum's education staff will collaborate with DC Public and Charter School curriculum administrators to develop and implement continuing education workshops for teachers designed to expand their knowledge and understanding of the American Civil War, United States Colored Troops, and African American activities during the Civil War. The project will result in teacher training curricula, exhibition guides to support student learning inside and outside of the museum, and curricula resources that will be available for download on the museum's website.
The Amistad Research Center will expand access and use of its archival collections by documenting the work of African American women leaders in a variety of fields, including the arts, social justice activism, labor activism, civic leadership, politics, and business. The project team will process the personal papers of 11 prominent women leaders in addition to converting the legacy finding aids for an additional five collections of women's papers to online versions. The center will use information derived from the project to create or enhance Wikipedia pages for each woman highlighted in the project. Selections from each of the 16 collections will serve as the foundation for the research, design, and installation of both a physical and online exhibition entitled "A Range of Experiences: Documenting African American Women's History and Achievements."
Boston's Museum of African American History will improve the care and management of its collections associated with the African Meeting House, which is preserved as a reminder of a thriving 19th century African American community on Nantucket Island. Following the recommendations of a 2016 Museum Assessment Program (MAP) report, museum staff will work with consultants to assess the condition of the objects and archives currently in storage on the island; re-organize storage spaces; identify materials to be moved to a climate-controlled facility; and improve controls and documentation to increase accessibility of the collections for staff, visitors, and scholars. By assessing the collections and improving their storage, the museum will gain improved intellectual and physical control of the objects, thereby better serving both scholars and the general public who visit the museum's Nantucket campus.
The Preserving Black Western Legacies project will support the digitization of collections that document the lives of African Americans who settled in Denver and the American West. The project will enhance outreach and expand access to the Western Legacies Museum, located within the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, a branch of the Denver Public Library. The library will hire a project archivist to work with staff to digitize an estimated 150 linear feet of material featuring historically significant African Americans, making 14 of its most heavily used collections available online to staff, visitors, and researchers worldwide. The project team will also develop a digital exhibition using the newly digitized materials. The project archivist and senior librarians will work with local educators to create two curriculum kits that teachers can use in their classrooms to enhance the teaching of African American history.
The Freedom Rides Museum operated by the Alabama Historical Commission will fabricate and install a new exhibition to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides in 2021. Located in the historic Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station, the Freedom Rides Museum tells the story of the nonviolent student Freedom Riders who were attacked in 1961 by a mob as they peacefully protested segregation in interstate travel. The exhibition will feature interactive components and self-guided galleries, information on the nonviolent training received by the Freedom Riders, and a 1960s era Greyhound bus. The development of the exhibition plan, funded by the National Park Service, engaged a wide variety of partners including the Freedom Riders, civil rights historians, activists, educators, practitioners, and community leaders. The museum will employ both formative and summative evaluation methodologies to improve and refine the exhibition during its development and to measure project outcomes.
The Muhammad Ali Museum and Education Center will create a publicly accessible digital database to more broadly share the life and legacy of boxing champion and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali. The museum's archive includes photographs, negatives, boxing contracts, fight posters and print materials, personal documents, film and video tapes, and physical artifacts. A part-time digital imaging specialist will work with the collections staff and a technology company to migrate 7,000 newly digitized documents to a new collections management system. The project team will design a public-facing database, ensuring that metadata is prepared for optimal searchability. The project will enable immediate access to information that was previously only available by visiting the museum in Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
The North Carolina African American Heritage Commission will implement the next phase of its Africa to Carolina initiative, designed to recognize and interpret sites in the state where enslaved Africans disembarked directly from Africa. A graduate student will work with the commission to implement the goals of the project under the supervision of a staff team and the Africa to Carolina Advisory Board. The project employee will create a small exhibition to be housed in public facilities at seven identified disembarkation points; generate content for a website to serve as a clearinghouse for information; and assist the Commission with a convening of stakeholders to establish plans for future activities. The project team will also generate an online guide to existing tools for educators and the public about the slave trade, slave economy in North Carolina, and the legacy of enslavement.
Hinds Community College will launch the Utica Oral History Project to collect, preserve, and disseminate stories centered around the theme of southern black education in rural Mississippi. The college will establish an Oral History Center where community members can use equipment to collect their family stories, and mobile recording equipment will also be available for those unable to visit the campus. Faculty members will learn oral history best practices with a goal to incorporate their use in student coursework. The project team will lead workshops throughout the community, and work with families to catalog, digitize, and archive the recordings. Student interns will assist families in producing mini documentaries for use at family reunions and other special events. The project will result in oral history portfolios for 12 families consisting of the raw audio/video footage, transcripts, metadata, and family archival artifacts.
Tougaloo College will improve the care and management of its art collections by implementing recommendations from its participation in the Conservation Assessment for Preservation program. The college will purchase and install a custom-built lateral art rack system to support the storage of over-sized fine art works in the Bennie G. Thompson Academic and Civil Rights Research Center. Staff members and contractors will work with student interns to move and temporarily store the art works in a temporary secure space while the new system is being installed. The project team will evaluate the condition of objects and research and update cataloging information in the collections management database. The transfer to a new storage system will increase the ability of staff to access works safely, prevent further damage to the large works, and increase the potential for growth of the collections.
The Virginia Union University Museum of African Art will pilot a paid internship program for undergraduate students attending Virginia Union University. The program will create 24 internship positions over a three-year period in partnership with the Valentine Museum, Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Interns will lead tours, preserve and interpret primary source materials, participate in membership campaigns, and network with professionals from museums, archives, and other arts organizations. Each intern will create and develop a research project using the museum's collections that will culminate in either a public event presenting research, an exhibition, or tangible educational resources. The projects will be documented through a website, highlighting the program for the campus and surrounding community.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music will build on the recommendations of a recently completed interpretive planning process to improve the visitor experience and present a more accurate, well-rounded account of the history of Stax Records and the city of Memphis. The museum will address the content, tone, and narrative of its orientation film to create a new introduction for visitors. The project team will update didactic exhibition panels to incorporate recent developments in scholarship and better contextualize Stax Records within the history of the city for visitors of all ages. The museum will also upgrade its technical infrastructure, including its content delivery system designed to share interviews, live performances, and music to help tell the story of American soul music.
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore will enhance its identity as a historically black, land grant institution by improving the care and accessibility of archival collections housed in the Special Collections Department of the Frederick Douglass Library. The project director will recruit three student interns, who will receive stipends to assist with creating an inventory and cataloging priority record groups, providing library patrons access to organized archival material accompanied by finding aids. The university will purchase supplies to rehouse the materials, and the project team will create both physical and digital exhibitions on the project to support faculty and student learning. Project activities will include a workshop for faculty, a student symposium, and a faculty reading circle to further promote teaching and learning opportunities with the collections. Selected faculty will share experiences with their peers through attendance and presentations at conferences.
The Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center will implement a stakeholder-driven planning process to enhance the city's African American Landmark Tour, which highlights the history of the African American experience in South Bend and the northern Midwest. The project will integrate archival materials from the museum's collections into the tour and add technology to facilitate public discourse. The museum will link interpretive assets from its collection of oral histories, photographs, documents, and news clippings to tour sites through redesigned signage, print materials, and a dedicated website and app. A participatory "Join the Conversation" feature will invite participants to respond to relevant topics embedded within the 20 historically significant landmarks via social media. The project will engage teams of student interns who will gain skills in publishing, web design, and coding while learning about regional African American history.
The Association of African American Museums will continue to strengthen its organizational effectiveness by expanding member services and assessing the impact of recent capacity building efforts. The association will work with two student interns to assess member services in response to a 2017 National Needs Assessment and to identify additional needs that have developed over time. A consulting firm will assess the organization's success in implementing strategic plan goals over the past three years. The project will support and train students from historically black colleges and universities in learning skills related to organizational sustainability and capacity building while gaining working knowledge in areas such as member cultivation and engagement and program development. Association members will benefit from at least three professional development webinars based on survey findings, and the organization will complete revisions to its strategic plan.
The Appalachian African American Cultural Center will improve the care of its collections, while developing the skills and capacity to sustain its work to preserve and interpret the history of an eight-county region in the coalfields of Southwestern Virginia. In partnership with a regional archivist, the center will catalog and rehouse its collections. The center will create finding aids and partner with the University of Tennessee Knoxville's School of Information Sciences to digitize items, standardize project metadata, and format them for public access through an online platform. The East Tennessee History Museum will work with the center to create an exhibition and community engagement plan. Project activities will also include the creation of in-house and mobile exhibitions and educational outreach materials to interpret the collections for residents, schools, colleges, and organizations in the region.
Morgan State University will implement a comprehensive interpretive project based on archival collections documenting the life and work of Ellen Irene Diggs, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in anthropology. Multiple university departments will collaborate to organize and analyze the collections. The project team of staff and consultants will implement an internship program for more than 40 undergraduate and graduate students and volunteers, focusing on archival research, preservation, and anthropology. Project activities will include the enhancement of public access to the collections through an online exhibit, student posters, and panels as part of the 117th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. A professional development program including workshops and instructional materials will engage 90 teachers, resulting in enhanced curricula in humanities and social studies for over 400 K-12 students in each year of the project.
The Malcolm X Memorial Center will strengthen its partnership with the local school district by developing a curriculum to enhance student learning in African American history. The museum will engage a curriculum writer to develop three lesson plans for Omaha Public School District students in grades 6-12. The consultant will work with museum staff, local teachers, and professors at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Black Studies Department to reproduce relevant historical materials and incorporate them into the classroom lessons. An external evaluator and project director will oversee the collection of feedback from students and educators to measure the effectiveness of the project.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture will produce an online archive of interviews highlighting the significant achievements and everyday lives of African Americans in Maryland. The project will reactivate an oral history studio that was equipped with recording equipment when the museum first opened. Museum staff will work with two interns to research and update an existing collection of over 100 oral histories, and an Advisory Committee will help to identify new interview prospects. The project will result in the digitization of 112 oral history interviews conducted between 2001-2002 as well as 50-75 new oral histories. The museum will engage a videographer and other contractors to conduct and transcribe the interviews and to create a dedicated webpage which will serve as a repository of oral histories related to Maryland African American history.
The Studio Museum in Harlem will launch a two-year inventory project to uncover, document, and increase accessibility to its collections. The museum's collections include over 2,500 works by over 800 artists working in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and performance. The museum will increase its curatorial capacity by hiring a dedicated collections database administrator, who will work with collections staff, art handlers, and a consultant to implement project activities. Concurrent with the collections inventory, the project team will capture images of all objects and prepare for the first full appraisal of the collection in over a decade. The completed inventory will provide the context necessary to more efficiently and safely store works as the museum prepares for the opening exhibition in its new facility.
The Clark Atlanta University Art Museum will support its goal to be a center for the presentation and critical study of African Diaspora art by furthering its Black Optics Artist Residency program. Building on an exchange with the Musée Schoelcher, a cultural institution located in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, the museum will invite Guadeloupean installation artist Minhia Biabiany to develop an exhibition and programming that involves sharing her work and expertise with faculty and students at the university and with broader Atlanta communities. The artist's project will generate new perspectives about the museum's permanent collection, exhibition, and/or contemporary museum practices. The exhibition will then travel to Guadeloupe to be presented in the Musée Schoelcher. The residency program is designed to explore transnational exchange and alternative histories through conversations between U.S. artists of African descent and artists from the Caribbean.
Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) will create a public art program that will use art, sound, and visuals to chronicle the past and present day narratives of historic African American spaces in Biddleville and the Beatties Ford Road Corridor in Charlotte, North Carolina—home to JSCU. The project team will create four interactive, outdoor mobile “pop-up units” incorporating original soundtracks using oral histories to capture the past and present sounds of Biddleville by infusing gospel, jazz, hip-hop, and other pieces to appeal to a multi-generational audience. Project activities will also include tours and a discussion series to share the history of Biddleville and to generate dialogues about urban renewal. Materials collected for this project will become part of the JCSU digital archives, and the project may serve as a replicable model for other communities impacted by urban renewal and gentrification.