You are here
Awarded Grants Search
The Levine Museum of the New South will finalize development of the exhibition Reading, Writing, and Race: One Children's Book and the Power of Stories, which explores historical and contemporary issues of race and representation, and the contested process by which culture is created. The exhibition will center on the 1939 children's book, Tobe: A Six-Year-Old Farmer, one of the first books to feature realistic depictions of everyday African Americans. A series of programs and dialog sessions will supplement the exhibition and offer an innovative approach to storytelling in the gallery, provide a springboard for community-engaged programming, and serve as an opportunity for visitors to explore how history speaks to questions that hit close to home.
The Andrew Jackson's Hermitage will develop a long-range visitor experience and interpretive plan for Andrew Jackson's Hermitage. This new interpretive plan will shape what visitors learn, how they learn, and where they learn. A scholarly panel will review interpretive content for ways to incorporate recent scholarship into Hermitage programming and interpretation. A visitor studies firm will develop surveys and interviews to identify what visitors are looking for in a visit to the Hermitage. Staff teams will also visit sites and museums that are successfully carrying out interactive and experiential learning for multi-generational audiences, as well as sites that successfully offer a variety of opportunities to address difficult issues. Using the research from the scholarly panel, visitor surveys, and staff site observations and analysis of current programs, consultants will work with the staff to develop a menu of interpretive strategies to enhance the daily visitor experience. The completed interpretive plan will inform a new site-wide master facilities plan so that infrastructure improvements will reflect projected programming needs.
The Treehouse Children's Museum will create an exhibition for visitors with preschool age children that blends imaginative play, family literacy, and vocabulary development with natural sciences content drawn from early learning and Common Core standards. The project will address concerns over low proficiency scores in science among students served by the museum and will align with Head Start's Early Learning Framework for science knowledge and skills. The exhibition will feature activity stations where children and their caregivers can investigate trees, plants, animals, birds, and seasons. Each station will provide caregivers with resources to talk with their child about their interactions with the exhibition components, suggest explorations to try, and introduce science vocabulary. Preschool groups will also have the option of participating in a 90-minute tour of the exhibition.
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) will integrate its adult education and engagement program, YBCA:YOU, into its broader membership structure in order to further extend its framework for connecting arts experiences with more diverse audiences. Through individualized attention and a series of collaboratively developed personal Aesthetic Development Plans, the project will seek to increase participants' level of aesthetic awareness, capability, and appreciation of contemporary art and culture; capacity for personal meaning-making and ability to direct their own life balance or educational exploration; frequency of participation at YBCA programming; attendance at cultural events outside their original range of aesthetic experience; ability to achieve their personal aesthetic goals; participation in making, advocating for or supporting the arts, culture and social justice; and sense of community, welcome or belonging.
The Boston Children's Museum will develop the concept and design for "Our City," a new exhibit dedicated to learning about the multicultural diversity of Boston. This cultural understanding project will reimagine an extant exhibition "Boston Black," to create a space for vibrant community conversations, input, and sharing. The museum will create the following tangible products during this two year project: a literature review on children, culture, identity, and cross?cultural learning in museums; front?end research including conversations and surveys with visitors and community groups; a plan outlining the goals and rationale for exhibition; a graphic approach; and a set of exhibition components that have been prototyped and evaluated. "Our City" will be iteratively developed and refined based on the perspectives of community conversations, content specialists, exhibit designers, and advisors, as well as feedback from museum visitors to create a meeting ground for interacting, sharing stories and developing awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the many cultures that constitute Boston.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science will deliver, expand, and evaluate whole-school museum education experiences for all students and teachers in elementary and K-8 schools in two under-resourced school districts. The teacher development program provides targeted professional development for all teachers in these school districts while simultaneously offering customized fieldtrips for all students of each school to visit the museum on the same day. The program will result in teachers increasing their understanding of professional development topics and incorporate learnings into their classroom practice while students will increase their interest and knowledge of science topics covered during their fieldtrip experience. Together, the program elements impact the entire school community by reducing the opportunity gap for students and improving science instruction in schools.
The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will conduct Phase I of the NYC EcoFlora Project which will include the development and prototyping phase of a database of naturally occurring plant species, and their relationships with other organisms and physical conditions that allow plants to exist. This major New York City-wide initiative, led by NYBG, will leverage local natural history collections, biodiversity data, and citizen scientists to understand the dynamics of the city's native plant species. Project activities include brainstorming and protocol development workshops, the design of the NYC EcoFlora Project's website, and piloting citizen science data collection on two tree species in NYBG's 50-acre native forest. The findings from this phase will inform the NYC EcoFlora Project's city-wide launch in 2018. The project will provide a model for how informal science institutions can collaborate to engage the public in real-world scientific research, by compiling and leveraging biodiversity data to improve our environmental understanding and conservation for urban regions.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) will create "From Cradle to Hub: Advancing Visitor Engagement at the MFAH," a framework of experimental programs and interpretive materials based on audience feedback. The MFAH has embarked on a dynamic campus redevelopment project that will create new spaces for the public to engage with the museum’s extensive collection of world-class art. In preparation for increased programming opportunities afforded by the expanded campus, the museum will work with visitors, non-visitors, cultural partners, and community leaders to design, develop, implement, and evaluate experimental programming and new interpretive strategies. This project represents a vital step in reimagining audience engagement as the MFAH increases its role within Houston's rapidly expanding and ethnically diverse metropolitan area of over six million people.
The Strong, National Museum of Play will fabricate and install "Pretend Playscape: Building Strong Minds," an exhibition for visitors to engage in pretend play, participate in critical dialog about pretend play and its place in lives, and learn about the important role of pretend play in human emotional, intellectual, social, and cultural development. In addition to featuring themed interactive settings, the exhibition incorporates a series of labels on the nature and importance of pretend play to educate caregivers on its benefits and to help them engage children in pretend play. The museum will evaluate how well the exhibition increases adult interest in promoting pretend play in children's lives by conducting pre- and post-visit interview surveys to gauge what guests know about the benefits of pretend play before and after their visit.
The Concord Museum will develop a visitor experience plan to guide the comprehensive reinterpretation of the museum's permanent collections in order to educate its visitors on the history of Concord, MA. Through researching the best practices and interpretive methodologies to enhance visitor engagement, the project will reach out primarily to its three target audiences - repeat adult visitors, families, and K-12 students and teachers. To meet the project's objectives, the museum will incorporate a formative planning process, including research and exploration, development of interpretive approaches, evaluation of input from target audiences, and conceptual design. The museum will ultimately serve target audiences through high-quality inclusive, accessible, and user-focused interpretation. Success of the project will be measured through pre-project evaluation and regular input from stakeholders who participate in the planning process.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center will install and evaluate a new permanent exhibit that will provide visitors with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to stand up for humanity and take action in their schools, workplaces, and communities. The three-gallery experience will include pre-recorded images of Holocaust survivors, opportunities to contemplate how one can stand up against injustices, and tools for getting involved in civic issues. The museum will pilot and test the interactive elements of the exhibition with visitors to inform revisions and modifications. The exhibit aims to provide visitors a better understanding genocide and its causes, to increase visitors' capacity for historical and personal empathy, and to encourage visitors to take on civic issues and speak up for themselves and others.
In conjunction with SITE Santa Fe's reimagined biennial exhibition series titled, "SITELines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas," the museum will develop an artist-led, community-centered programming initiative to provide continuity during and between the biennials. Launched in 2014 with the first SITELines exhibit, SITE Santa Fe now works with several artists each year to develop long-term community-engaged projects providing new opportunities for audiences to engage with the ideas of the biennials. The success of this pilot program laid the groundwork for program expansion, and SITE Santa Fe now will develop five new socially-engaged residency projects with a range of artists. These projects, with timelines ranging from one to three years, will include performances, publications, community round tables, workshops, and exhibitions.
The Textile Museum at George Washington University will fabricate and install an interactive Textile Learning Center within its new museum facility. The center will expand public knowledge and appreciation of the artistic merits and cultural importance of textiles by offering hands-on and technology-enhanced learning experiences. Interactive exhibitions will include a highly tactile experience for visitors to feel, manipulate, and design textiles; touchable examples of real textiles; feature videos that introduce the themes of each space; and a question-and-answer station where visitors can test their new knowledge. These experiences will allow audiences to identify textiles as human expressions of personal and cultural identity; understand the basic elements of textile structure, design, and materials; appreciate textiles as requiring significant resources, often with global impact; and recognize textiles as an art form. A summative evaluation will measure the exhibition's impact on visitors' understanding of textile production, present-day application of textiles, and textiles' association with art and global culture.
The Mid-Hudson Children's Museum will continue its existing partnership with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center to promote school readiness among children, ages three to five, from low-income households. During this two-year project, children from four early childhood education centers in Poughkeepsie, NY, will participate in monthly museum fieldtrip programs focusing on STEM topics. Teachers will participate in professional development activities to build skills around inquiry-based and early STEM instruction. Family learning nights will connect parents to topical content and foster the use of the museum as an educational resource. The museum will strengthen the "Triad of Support" model supporting the development of young children by forging links among parents, educators and museum professionals around specific content areas through these multiple programs. Using a combination of teacher and parent survey tools, this project will document and evaluate progress of critical thinking skills and mastery of school readiness indicators, among pre-K aged children.
The Palouse Discovery Science Center will introduce "Project HOUSE: How Our Understanding (of Science) Saves Energy" to provide hands-on learning experiences about heat energy for science center visitors. Through a series of portable exhibitions, the project will improve youths' and adults' understanding of critical physics concepts of heat transfer and inspire participants to save energy and money in their own homes. Along with the exhibitions, a model house component will allow visitors to make changes that slow down heat loss and improve its energy efficiency. Success of the project will be based upon whether visitors' experience with the exhibits increased their understanding of relevant concepts, interest in the topic, and likelihood of taking action within their own homes.
The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho will implement the ARTworks educational outreach program to provide students and art educators the opportunity to expand their understanding of, and strengthen their skills in, the arts. The program will address the need for an improved arts-education system in eastern Idaho by offering lessons that are related to current museum exhibits and by providing hands-on exploration of two- and three-dimensional art processes, art history, and art appreciation at no cost to the schools. Aligning with the Idaho Humanities Standards, ARTworks will also incorporate guided tours of the museum, free quarterly family days with hands-on art making lessons, and in-service training to elementary, junior, and senior high school teachers. By introducing this program, the museum will offer visitors creative learning opportunities in the arts, broaden awareness of museum exhibits and programming, and strengthen the connection to members of its regional community.
The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science will formalize and grow their Community Learning Center's Teacher Circle program, which provides area educators a synergistic and unique opportunity to effectively integrate STEAM education into their curriculum. By bringing educational leaders from the area on-site to make professional connections and develop meaningful lessons, the program will encourage the use of museum services and resources to help create effective STEAM lessons for K-12 students. The training program will strengthen the quality of teachers' educational methods and materials to ultimately promote the integration of STEAM lessons in schools across the Sioux Falls region. The Teacher Circle program strives to increase teachers' ability to bring high-quality lesson plans to the classroom, provide students the opportunity to engage with more meaningful STEAM material, and enable the Washington Pavilion and the Community Learning Center to grow its educational impact in the region.
Discovery Cube, Orange County will expand Futuros Radiantes (Bright Futures), a program for Spanish-speaking parents of children, five and under, to help further its mission to inspire and educate youth in San Fernando Valley. With an objective to help Spanish-speaking parents better prepare their children for preschool and kindergarten, the program will teach parents how to help their children become school-ready by strengthening their abilities to read and write in English and in Spanish; develop a deep, foundational understanding of number sense; and improve their science-thinking skills. Known for its broad educational outreach programs and empowering real world application, Discovery Cube will introduce Futuros Radiantes to prepare young learners to successfully enter preschool and kindergarten and develop a life-long love of learning.
The Providence Children's Museum will create a new staffing model and recruitment strategy to redefine the structure of frontline staffing needed to best support the visitor experience and meet the museum's strategic goals. The museum will also develop an actionable plan for how to train and support frontline staff and volunteers. The goal of the project is to provide even better, more meaningful experiences for both visitors and the frontline team. The intended outcomes of this process are a new frontline staff structure; multiple new position descriptions for frontline staff; new partnerships and strategies for recruitment and support; and new training and support plans and materials for frontline staff and their direct managers. Success of the project will be evaluated through surveys, and will be based on the staff's increased understanding and interest in the new material and their confidence in applying it.
The Museum of the Oregon Territory will partner with students from nearby Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver's Creative Media & Digital Culture program to develop tablet-based augmented reality software that will allow visitors to explore interactive menus, videos, pictures, and stories related to artifacts in the Kaegi Pharmacy, a complete 1920's pharmacy and one of the museum's most unique and notable holdings. This experience will enhance the interpretation for the exhibit, create a dynamic and engaging learning environment for visitors, provide context to examine current community issues in health care, and provide students from area universities the opportunity to conduct original research and create unique digital tools. This project will seek to increase understanding of medicinal substance and the historical practice of pharmacology, increase awareness of the role pharmacies played in early twentieth-century communities, develop an interactive discovery space that encourages self-directed learning, and support state education standards.
Golden History Museums will produce an introductory film focusing on its landmark 1867 boarding house, Astor House. The film will be an integral component of a new interpretive framework encouraging visitors to consider how living with a community of strangers shapes our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. It will address what boarding houses were, how they functioned as businesses, how they helped rapidly developing communities house newcomers, and how they contributed to the social and cultural fabric of the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. The museum will compile and verify previously completed research, draft a video script, sub-contract film production, and purchase and install exhibit furniture and media equipment. Evaluation with stakeholders and the Golden community will occur during discrete phases of the project in coordination with the larger effort of reinterpreting the house. The film will be completed by June 2017 to coincide with the reopening of Astor House and commemoration of its 150th anniversary.
The Tryon Palace will develop an interpretive program based on the experiences of the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War. The interpretive program will include educational materials, teacher training opportunities, and public events to share the important roles played by contraband and freed men willing to wear a uniform, fight, and die for the cause of freedom. The project concept comes directly from leaders within the African American community who desire a program to teach young men within their community about their heritage, involve them in community programs, grow the inclusive and diverse outreach programs of Tryon Palace, and lead an effort to better understand the United States Colored Troops' impact. Success of the project will be the creation of a community of learners who are invested in their region's history, learning the roles of African American leaders in forging freedom, and who see the long-term value of history in their community.
The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden (KWBGS) will create a sustainable environmental education program that supports and reinforces the standards-driven science instruction in the local school district in order to increase students' engagement with, and mastery of, science concepts. Young learners, particularly students in fourth grade, were identified by local teachers as needing help recognizing, investigating, and explaining the concepts articulated in state-mandated science benchmarks, and the museum's hands-on activities help to enhance student learning by allowing them to explore the natural world around them in an outdoor classroom experience. KWBGS will take one year to plan a program, and then form a committee of key staff, public school teachers, and docents to develop activities that teach science benchmarks focusing on garden resources integrated with technology. The new curriculum will align with the national Common Core standards, Florida Department of Education Science standards, KWBGS' mission and strategic plan, and the local school district's science benchmarks.
The Clark Art Institute will strengthen and expand its partnership program, Head Start with Art, by: 1) undertaking a formal evaluation of the current program curriculum and its success in meeting program goals and revising the program curriculum as recommended, 2) expanding the existing Clark program to two additional Head Start classes, and 3) expanding the program to other regions by training staff, sharing materials, and supporting and consulting other programs interested in launching their own Head Start with Art programs. This project will address the lack of enrichment programs available to students after significant cuts to Head Start. Success will be measured using surveys, interviews, and formal program evaluation to assess progress in meeting the program's goal of helping students gain kindergarten readiness skills; parents' attitude and behavioral changes; and museum professionals and Head Start educators understanding of and ability to create Head Start with Art programs in their home institutions.
Mystic Seaport will extend the reach, impact, and diversity of its first-person interpretation program which is a hallmark of the museum experience. New interpreters will conduct extensive historical research, participate in professional development opportunities, and create costumes to develop their characters. Existing interpreters will conduct additional historical research, and select interpreters will receive training to work in a virtual environment through the museum's innovative digital program. The Museum's Virtual Classroom, a 21st-century information delivery system that brings first-person interpreters into classrooms via Skype, will greatly expand the educational reach of the first-person interpretation program and also enrich the Virtual Classroom as an educational offering. By delivering history through first-person interpretation, both in-person and through virtual programs, students, teachers, and the general public will have enhanced opportunities for self-directed learning.
Boise Art Museum (BAM) will develop and implement a new educational program to help families engage with the museum. The program will include a quarterly workshop, a new multilingual Family Guide, and family-friendly wayfinding methods. The program will be designed to empower parents to confidently take on the role of educator in any exhibition, increase the time families spend inside exhibition spaces, and highlight educational opportunities and sources for information available throughout the Museum. By creating more active programming and easily identifiable resources for visiting families, the museum aims to instill more confidence in families' ability to interpret art objects and provide them with a more engaging experience.
The Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens will implement place-based multi-disciplinary curricula for fifth and sixth grade Akron Public Schools students. The curriculum addresses multiple subject areas including STEM, social studies, and Common Core language arts. Working with local partners, the school district and the College of Education at the University of Akron, the museum will present this program to engage local students by using its culturally, historically, and environmentally significant resources. Program goals and outcomes include improving the overall program, refining model STEM and social studies curricula, and providing real-world experiences utilizing problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that cannot be easily replicated in a traditional classroom.
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico will continue its Art and Technology for Youth at Risk initiative which provides learning opportunities for at-risk young adults by integrating museum programming and exhibits, and partner organization programming, into an afterschool program. This initiative offers students a space for developing lifelong learning skills that encourage productive citizenship. In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Judicial Branch, a school serving low-income families, and the YWCA, the afterschool program will bring together a team of educational professionals to provide opportunities for the development of students' art, technical, interpersonal, and motivational skills. Program activities and outcomes, such as using technology to create art, literacy narratives, and photography, will be driven by academic standards, including math, fine arts, written communications, and reading comprehension and analysis.
The Queens Museum of Art will develop Corona, Queens: A Dignified Neighborhood for Immigrants, a project aimed at creating new opportunities through an arts and cultural lens for civic engagement by equipping emerging immigrant neighborhood leaders with necessary tools for community engagement. The project positions Corona as a model neighborhood where residents' concerns are addressed through education, dialog, and institutional support. The museum will provide non-English speaking community members with tools to create a beautiful neighborhood, and the advocacy skills to enable them to create a better city environment. Activities include facilitating improvements to Flushing Meadows Corona Park; building local leadership in the community through the museum's arts and education center; and continuing civic engagement in Corona through participation in active design improvements and through New York City's participatory budgeting process.
Sci-Port Discovery Center, in collaboration with the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Department, will expand its Bars without Barriers project, a program which provides work skills training, as well as family and parenting skills, to inmates. Through this collaboration, the project partners will present skills classes for inmates on informal science education theory and methods using a hands-on interactive program and build portable education stations to incorporate into family visits. Once inmates graduate from the program, they will be able to visit Sci-Port with their families with a free membership; engage their families with fun, hands-on, interactive programs at home; and interact with members of the community using their new portable educational stations. Primary activities include presenting weekly educational sessions, which include a mentored family contact visit class with 60 students that prepare participants to engage with their families; design and construction of education stations; and sharing the exhibits and best practices with other correction centers and museums.
The Garfield Park Conservatory (GPC) is developing a new teen docent training program to engage low-income and minority teenagers in a deep and lasting relationship. GPC will partner with Al Raby High School for Community and Environment to train 10 students per year to become knowledgeable and engaging school fieldtrip facilitators. Program activities include 1) workshops in which teens and staff collaborate to design the summer internship program; 2) summer internships in which the teens learn about GPC exhibits and horticulture, and design fieldtrip activities to convey their experience and knowledge; and 3) facilitation of fieldtrips for school children in second through fifth grade. Teens will also provide insight and perspective into interpretative materials, including signage, programming, and online resources for families and teachers. The program will help make GPC a more inclusive museum.
The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will partner with Hosanna House to develop the Hosanna House Community Museum, a sustainable community-based center, which will provide innovative, hands-on learning experiences for low-income children and families. The community museum will develop an exhibit gallery, create a makerspace/creative arts studio, develop makerspace activities for summer camp and afterschool programs, and provide ongoing professional development through a staff exchange. The project will create a sustainable community museum which will serve children and families, provide rich maker and arts programming that supports learning for racially and economically diverse families, and provide professional development that expands the skills and capacity of museum professionals and Hosanna House staff.
The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum will collaborate with Creative Discovery Museum (Chattanooga, TN), the Thinkery (Austin, TX), and the Department of Child and Family Life at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan to develop a training model called Healing Through Hands-On Science. The project will address the need for museums and children's hospitals to capitalize on one another's resources to provide programming for pediatric patients and their families, and for museums to offer health-based programs to advance STEM learning. The museum will develop a toolkit of best practices to better enable other museum-hospital collaborations. Project evaluation plans include measuring the depth of change in partner institutions, number of people impacted, and how the program is shaped by each partner in their respective communities.
The Dallas Heritage Village will work with longtime partner Vogel Alcove, an organization that provides childcare and other family support services to homeless children, to transform an underutilized building on the museum's grounds into an ideal safe place for toddlers and preschool visitors. The space, Play Village, will be the home base for Vogel Alcove visits, providing a familiar starting place for young children before they explore other parts of the museum complex. The museum hopes to increase its ability to provide effective early childhood education programs through the Play Village, and will use the services of the Center for Research and Evaluation at Southern Methodist University to evaluate the programs while also establishing tools, guidelines, and best practices for early childhood education within museums.
The Detroit Institute of Arts will expand its Inside-Out program from a regional project to a statewide initiative for Michigan's most underserved populations. The project will use high-quality reproductions of the institute's artwork to re-imagine Michigan parks and downtowns as outdoor galleries, complete with interpretation and public programming. Six cities designated by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as underserved in regard to arts access will receive Inside-Out installations. The Institute will work with the cities to select reproductions and develop art programming with community partners that will lead to the building of reproductions in each location. Intended results, to be measured through onsite surveys, include increasing local civic engagement, improving people's sense of wellbeing in community spaces, and establishing a framework for communities to sustain arts and cultural activities.
The Desert Botanical Garden will partner with Cultivate South Phoenix and Phoenix area schools to develop a community space that will serve as a food hub and a center for community education programs, arts programming, and place-making activities. The project addresses health and wellness issues affecting many residents of the south Phoenix area, and it will develop and test a new place-based youth education program that will prepare students for continued education and workforce readiness. Participating students will develop stronger ties to their community, enhance their appreciation for the natural world, and create a heightened commitment to serving as active, contributing citizens while building their science and environmental literacy.
The San Diego Natural History Museum will design a program entitled SPECTRUM, which will provide a structured opportunity for high-functioning, verbal young adults (ages 18-25) with autism spectrum disorder to collaborate with their peers in practicing social skills and participate in organized fieldtrips. In addition, participants will work to create social stories, written or verbal access tools aimed at helping individuals with autism spectrum disorder understand various social interactions, situations, behaviors, skills or concepts that are expected in a public setting. These stories will serve as a template for other museums to use in determining which visitor experience elements should be included for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Museum staff and program participants will work together to develop both written and video based social stories for seven diverse museums in the San Diego area.
The Tucson Museum of Art and History Block will develop Network Connections, a project designed to strengthen the position of the museum as a civic partner and community anchor for refugee families affected by traumatic dislocation. Activities will include community forums, professional development trainings, programmatic activities, data collection, community exhibitions, and sharing of expertise. The project's intended outcomes include 1) positioning the museum as an inclusive environment and thoughtful partner in community-based programming; 2) providing refugees and immigrants access to a safe space to practice language and creative expression in support of their participation in community dialogs; and 3) bridging formal and informal learning environments by teaching participants how to use the museum and art as a resource.
MASS MoCA will develop an annual thematic-based community engagement framework entitled, "A Responsive Museum" (ARM), which will include a community consortium, planning meetings, community forum, free programs, and professional development for visitor services staff, tour guides, fellows, and interns on social justice issues. Focusing on the economically challenged communities of North Adams, Adams, and Pittsfield, the museum will use contemporary art to help build awareness of social issues, inspire visitors, create a forum for community dialogs, and foster deep intellectual and personal connections. This project will build capacity for museum staff and community to co-develop programs and generate opportunities for meaningful and transformational engagements with the arts.
The Children's Discovery Museum will build upon their efforts to promote cross-cultural exchange by introducing "Common Ground," a project that will reveal the power of children and families to influence civic dialog. With the support of community partners, International Children Assistance Network, Somos Mayfair and India Community Center, "Common Ground" will facilitate cross-cultural dinner conversations and a community workshopping process to develop a creative work that expresses the discoveries and learnings elicited through the dinner conversations. The impact of cross-cultural exchange will then be extended to the broader San Jose public through "A Seat at the Table," a creative arts installation that will share hopes and dreams revealed through the dinners and expand the public dialog. Through "Common Ground," the museum will strengthen its status as a community anchor, better preparing staff to address community needs, engage with diverse, local communities; maintain relationships with community partners, and effectively share the impact of cross-cultural engagement and dialog with like-minded institutions.
The Children's Museum of Tacoma will expand its "Partnership: Play to Learn" program to address the need for better access to high-quality early learning experiences for young children and better prepare parents and caregivers to support early learning. This project will underscore the museum's position as a community anchor, increasing its capacity to engage and serve Pierce County families by bringing this school readiness program to scale across the county. The museum will deepen programmatic partnerships with Pierce County Library and other community partners to develop a partnership model for joint program delivery, leading to a piloted approach at eight branches across Pierce County. The museum will engage an additional partner to pilot the program at five additional locations. These collaborations will allow the museum to extend the reach of its services by offering the program at more locations, thus increasing its impact on young families.
The Chicago Botanic Garden will implement its "Food as Medicine" project through the Windy City Harvest program to address the need for healthy, fresh food in food-insecure Chicago communities. In coordination with two health clinic partners, the Windy City Harvest program will launch a produce prescription program aimed at making fresh, affordable produce available to more than 100,000 low-income residents. Produce will be sold at below-market rates at community markets and the Farm-acy health corner store, incentivizing prescription patients to return with vouchers. In return, the Farm-acy staff will expand training programs in urban agriculture to serve additional at-risk youth and ex-offenders, preparing those communities members for gainful employment. More broadly, the larger museum community will benefit from this model example of how a botanical garden can engage communities in issues of health and wellness.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum will implement the third and critical phase of its highly successful High School Apprenticeship Program, which is proven to lift and change the lives of economically disadvantaged New Bedford area high school students. This year-round immersion program focuses on improving the college retention and graduation rates for program alumni, contributing to the program's overall goal of developing sustainable pathways out of poverty and supporting future workforce success. Activities include the expansion of the program to high school sophomores; formalizing a three-year curriculum that prioritizes academic achievement, subject-matter tutoring, social services workshops; and the development of an Apprentice Alumni Cohorts program through partnerships with Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.
Weeksville Heritage Center will facilitate Who Holds The Mic?, a twice-weekly afterschool workshop aimed at exposing youth to history, cultural expression, and artistic creation. The program will focus primarily on youth living in six New York City Housing Authority housing developments with a large population of African-Americans, Caribbean Americans, and some Hispanic Americans, and is in response to the museum's programming shift towards youth development and strengthening ties to these nearby housing developments. Activities include creation of collateral, facilitation of the afterschool program; activation of the Weeksville Oral Historian program to interview and record stories from youth as they participate in the project; and showcasing the work produced during the workshops in Weeksville's performance space. The project's success will be measured through workshop attendance, rate of program growth and attrition, and final participation in the showcase.
The UCF Art Gallery will implement the Central Florida Citizen Curator Project to encourage more active and open engagement between the community and local museums, archives, and public history centers. The project will provide the opportunity for community members to curate exhibits at the Art Gallery and their partner sites, including the Goldsboro Historical Museum, the Hurston Museum, and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center. The gallery will facilitate two exhibits per year based on a unifying theme of local, social, and cultural issues. These exhibits will make use of three key overarching genres outlined by the gallery: educational, experiment, and rhetoric. By focusing on exhibits as genres, the gallery encourages curators to think critically about making informed decisions that will effectively communicate to diverse audiences. A three-tiered assessment plan, including front-end, formative and summative assessment will evaluate success and will be the basis of The Citizen Curator Guidebook, which will be available to the public.
The Buffalo Audubon Society will involve community members in the reinvention of the indoor and outdoor visitor experiences at the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. Three design sessions will identify and confirm the major themes that will be reflected across the site. Additionally, the sessions will include the development of a design for a hands-on, experiential nature play area, and will inform hands-on exhibits to be installed inside the nature center building. Community members will be guided by three experts in the design of these elements of a nature center experience. Visitors to the center will evaluate the recommendations that are developed in the three design sessions. The outcomes of this project include specific plans for the interior and exterior exhibits and interpretive spaces.
The University and Jepson Herbaria at the University of California, Berkeley, will rehouse the library and archives of the Silva Center for Phycological Documentation that is currently at risk due to improper shelving and inadequate storage. The Silva Center hosts a nomenclature database, a library of rare literature, and the archives of three influential phycologists (botanists specializing in algae). Following the recommendations from the university's 2015 preservation needs assessment, the project will install compact shelving; reconfigure the center to provide space for the entire library, archives, and three administrative offices; rehouse library and archival materials; create an online finding aid for the archives; and develop a preservation plan for future collections. The project will result in improved care, security, and access for the phycological library and archives and will ensure that generations of botanists, researchers, and students have access to these extensive and important publications.
The Missouri Botanical Garden will restore the 60-acre Whitmire Woodland Natural Area at its Shaw Nature Reserve. The Reserve provides stewardship and interpretation of a living collection and natural areas that feature Missouri's diverse natural plant communities. The garden will remove a dense infestation of invasive amur honeysuckle and all secondary invasive species; thin fire-intolerant trees from the canopy; restore native grasses and wildflowers by developing site-appropriate seed mixes; establish a prescribed fire management program, and develop a web application to document, track, and evaluate restoration progress. Ecological conditions of the Natural Area will be vastly improved as a result of these project activities. Overall, the visitor experience and educational programs of the Nature Reserve will be enhanced and public awareness about the threat of invasive species will increase.
The Lyon Arboretum-Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP), in collaboration with Laukahi: The Hawai'i Plant Conservation Network (HPCN) will conduct a comprehensive survey and develop action plans for the in vitro germplasm collection of native Hawaiian species housed at the Micropropagation Laboratory. HRPP and its partners are moving towards a more sophisticated standardized format of data collection now being adopted by HPCN. This new format identifies the provenance of the collection, utilizing a pre-set area and individual plant reference code to readily identify plant founders. Code implementation will validate the value of breeding strategies to land managers. A survey of the laboratory's existing germplasm inventory will be conducted to identify collections with inaccurate or insufficient data, noting the general health of the cultures and assessing each collection for its conservation value. This will provide information to build action plans that can be used by land and species managers to develop collection and restoration strategies in the future.
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum will improve its digital and data infrastructure, allowing for expanded access to the museum's collections, unique archives, and the accumulated resources that provide context for understanding Georgia O'Keeffe's life and artwork. Currently, most of the museum's material is stored in specialized internal databases and is accessible only to individuals conducting research in person. The museum will refine these existing databases, digitize additional information, develop data crosswalks and metadata standards, and create a platform to harvest information from all these sources and provide aggregated results. The portal will reveal connections between disparate data sources - linking paintings with related archival records, oral histories, criticism files, conservation reports, and more. The platform will also serve as a model for other museums seeking to build a single-artist research portal.