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The Montana Natural History Center, in collaboration with the University of Montana, will develop an exhibit to showcase a selection of the university's extensive fossil collection. This new exhibit will help create inclusive, inquiry-based, educational opportunities for preschoolers through adults. University faculty will guide specimen interpretation and story development. The exhibit will explore modern research into evolution in a time of climate change, sharing ongoing university research and highlighting STEM careers and citizen science work. The project is based on interests identified through surveys, museum visitor recommendations, and a member focus group.
The Burlington County Historical Society will better meet the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder by developing and testing programs and exhibit components. Working with consultants and specialists, the museum will conduct audience research, recruit an advisory committee, and prototype, evaluate, and refine programs and exhibits in its Children's History Center for 4- to 12-year-olds. Museum staff will participate in workshops on best practices in autism education and engagement. The project team will create a handbook and curriculum guidelines to support the launch of final programs for the public.
The Springfield Museum of Art will build its capacity to work with preschool children and teachers by expanding the professional development components of its Artful Play program. The Artful Play program engages children in exploring open-ended early learning through artwork, galleries, and studios at the museum. The museum will expand its work with early childhood education students at Clark State Community College and Wittenberg University, helping them integrate art with preschool curricula through program observations, professional development workshops, and lectures. The museum will strengthen its partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art and both institutions will send educators to the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center for shared learning and professional development. An external evaluator will provide a report that will guide the museum in establishing future priorities for strengthening the impact of its preschool program development.
Science Mill will pilot an expansion of its STEM Equity Initiative for urban communities by introducing summer STEM career immersion camps for students in grades 3 to 8 in rural, underserved Texas communities. Developed by the museum's educators and taught by science teachers, the camps introduce students to real-world STEM careers and teach what it means to be a STEM professional. The project team will create new curriculum to support the week-long camps. Reaching up to 120 students, the camps feature team challenges, project-based designing and building, and daily hands-on content engagement through inquiry-based activities. Students will focus on different STEM fields each day with a goal to build their confidence and spark lifelong curiosity in STEM. During the school year, campers will participate in local STEM clubs, engaging in hands-on activities that continue to reinforce excitement in STEM learning.
The La Jolla Historical Society will increase public accessibility, improve internal efficiency and strengthen the management and stewardship of its community archive. The project will address approximately 268 linear feet of archival materials, which encompasses the information most requested by researchers and other users. The society will provide public access to the materials by publishing the resulting finding aids in the Online Archive of California (OAC), a statewide digital library project. The project will improve the staff's understanding of the collections contents and their ability to precisely locate items. This will provide more efficient access for researchers and the public.
The Trumbull County Historical Society will implement a pilot project to improve the management and care of its collections and move them to a new climate-controlled storage environment. The museum will appoint a collections manager and engage a conservator to work with staff and volunteers to upgrade storage conditions for 5,000 archival records, photographs, and documents. The museum will purchase new storage racks and cabinets and develop a workflow to support the move of the remaining collections during the next three to five years. The project will equip staff and volunteers with the skills to sustain ongoing collections care and management.
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education will design, fabricate, and install a new exhibition, "To Bear Witness - Extraordinary Lives." The new exhibit will document and narrate the stories of a diverse group of refugees with the goal of enhancing empathy and building a more inclusive community. The project team will capture, share, and preserve the stories of 10 to 12 people from varied backgrounds who left their homelands to become refugees in the United States. The exhibit will include interactive elements, photographs, narratives of each person's story, and short videos about the life of each refugee. The museum will develop and present programs for adults, middle and high school students, and university students.
The Homewood Museum at Johns Hopkins University will implement a series of trainings to equip the museum's interpretation staff and volunteers to successfully engage museum visitors in open, respectful conversations about slavery. A certified interpretive trainer will present a two-day workshop using the Commemorative Museum Pedagogy framework. The museum will partner with Jefferson's Monticello to expand the learning opportunities through a broader program. This will be open to the public and target external audiences, including Baltimore museum professionals and public historians. The training will use Monticello as a case study highlighting evolving interpretation methods and techniques. A series of debriefing discussions, surveys, and questionnaires will measure the project's impact. The survey results will also provide the foundation for a summary and analysis of Homewood's visitor engagement techniques, with the goal of creating a replicable model for comparable historic house museums.
The Community Arts Center will expand its free field trip program, providing arts education experiences to 1,000 underserved students in Boyle County, Kentucky. The museum will partner with the Boyle County Schools, the Danville Independent School District, and the Kentucky School for the Deaf to promote participation and to ensure that the programs align with the state's Standards for Arts and Humanities. Each museum visit will include a gallery walk with a professional artist and conversations with students. Then, students will be given the opportunity to create their own age- and skill-level-appropriate art in response to the exhibited artwork. The museum will evaluate the success of the program in building arts literacy through both educator and student feedback forms.
KID Museum will develop and test a framework for working with community organizations to design learning experiences and create a facilitation guide for integrating cultural appreciation with maker-based learning. Building on its established Cultural Days programming, the museum will partner with four organizations that represent the region's largest ethnic populations. Together, they will plan, design, prototype, and refine new programs and experiences for children ages 4 to 14 and their families. The project team will adapt an IMLS-funded STEM-expert co-development model to develop and present cultural programs both at the museum and in the community. The project team will evaluate and refine the programs through visitor surveys. The museum will share the resulting framework and facilitation guide with other informal learning spaces to support the implementation of similar programs.
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan's Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways will organize a four-day educational symposium to build a better understanding of Native American culture and history. The project will begin with a forum to foster dialogue on the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Saginaw. The forum will discuss the treaty's impact on sovereignty and relationships between natives and non-natives and the loss of continuity of language, culture, and the practice of traditional art forms. The forum will include representatives from the 25 tribes whose children attended the Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School. The representatives will share cultural stories and traditional methods through birch bark, black ash, elm and sweet grass basket making. The symposium will conclude on Michigan Indian Day with science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) activities for area students.
The Racine Zoo will attract a more diverse cohort of interns and help underserved young adults build careers in the profession by providing paid monthly stipends for students. During the course of this project, the zoo will create 30 internships for university students or recent graduates in its Animal Care and Conservation Education departments. Additionally, the zoo will offer five positions in each of three seasons for local high school students, with a stipend offered upon completion of the high school internship program. Many urban youth cannot afford to participate in unpaid positions, so the stipends will help overcome those barriers. The zoo will track participant satisfaction and future placement in permanent positions. To measure the success of the initiative, surveys will be sent one month, one year, and two years following the completion of each internship.
Save The Bay will design and install new exhibits at its Exploration Center and Aquarium to support the expansion of its shark and skate breeding programs. The center will work with aquarium designers to fabricate and install a new handicapped-accessible touch tank for its breed and release conservation and education program; update interpretive signage; and increase the size of existing shark and skate breeding and nursery exhibits. The project team will also develop new shark and skate school-based curriculum and public education experiences for the center and special events. The project will engage students and visitors in hands-on learning about sharks and skates, designed to foster environmental literacy and stewardship behaviors that impact local and global ecosystems.
The Allen Centennial Garden at the University of Wisconsin aims to foster greater appreciation for plants among the campus community. To help achieve this, the garden will create an interpretive master plan for its permanent displays. The garden will host listening sessions with undergraduate students to guide the selection of a consultant for the project. Students will be involved on the design team and as evaluators, allowing for authentic peer feedback while providing immersive learning experiences. Prior to their fabrication and installation, exhibits and displays will be prototyped and evaluated through on-site events and at off-site locations such as dorms, dining halls, and libraries. The project responds to an identified need to address "plant blindness," the inability to recognize or notice the plants in one's environment and their importance in the biosphere and in human affairs.
The Wharton Esherick Museum will complete a master plan for its grounds and facilities as it reframes its interpretive philosophy to position itself as a welcoming community space for a more diverse regional audience. The museum will work with consultants to facilitate the project activities, which will include interpretive planning, an assessment of existing conditions of the buildings, and preliminary designs, as well as the creation of an overall interpretive philosophy to support new multi-sensory experiences for visitors. The museum will develop a new tour experience, including a mobile app. The project team will pilot the tour and gather feedback from visitors through surveys and focus groups.
The Children's Museum at La Habra will create the Friendly Farm Exhibit for children ages 2-10, teachers, parents, and community members. The exhibit will emphasize the importance of good nutrition and exercise as a solution to the national childhood obesity problem. Targeting the community's low income, underserved, immigrant Hispanic population, the exhibit will feature an historical overview of Mexican-American immigrants supporting agriculture in California's La Habra Valley. As a leader in a five-year community health initiative, the museum will partner with health organizations to ensure the exhibit promotes the importance of healthy eating, farm-to-table food, and exercise while showcasing Mexican-American contributions to farming in the early 20th century. Presented in both English and Spanish, the exhibit will feature a pretend-play environment offering opportunities for the development of gross/fine motor skills, language/vocabulary acquisition, and cognitive reasoning abilities.
The Pratt Museum will digitize 45 maps from its cartography archives, create an online catalog where community members and researchers can access the maps, and facilitate community and classroom conversations to inspire new map creation. The project will focus on 45 specific maps ranging from the earliest years of the 20th century through the late 1970s. The digitization project will include maps that were hand-drawn by local cartographers, documenting the layout of the town over various parts of the last century. Also included are hand-drawn maps that speculated on potential land use and maps that have been annotated in pen, sometimes accompanied by oral histories. The museum will partner with the City of Homer and the Homer Public Library to complete digitization and online cataloging. The maps will be publicly accessible on both the museum and library websites.
The Wright Museum of Art at Beloit College will conserve and exhibit three oil paintings by the artist Suzanne Duchamp (French, 1889-1963). An IMLS-funded conservation survey identified the paintings as the museum's highest priority for treatment due to their condition, which prevents them from being exhibited or loaned to peer institutions. The museum will engage a professional conservation team to perform the work and consult on framing and preventive maintenance. Museum staff will work with Beloit College students to re-catalog and rehouse the paintings. They will also create digital files with searchable metadata and high-resolution photographs for the collection databases. The conservation of these paintings will enable the museum to better illustrate current scholarship, focusing on restoring the role of female artists in art history.
The Percussive Art Society's Rhythm! Discovery Center will inventory, assess, catalog, and digitize archival materials relating to notable 20th century percussion composers. This project will provide public online access for music scholars and the public. The museum will engage a professional archivist to create a pilot system by cataloging and rehousing 15 linear feet of archives, including compositions and scores, holograph editions of musical scores, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and research on instrument development and construction. The project team will complete the digitization of 200 items. The archivist will develop policies for archival processing, digital resource creation and preservation procedures. A part-time archivist will assist with processing and the museum will provide training for staff on workflow systems and best practices. Access to the materials will be available on the museum's website and through OCLC WorldCat.
The Virginia National Guard Museum will pilot a project to provide students from nearby colleges and universities with training in curatorial methodologies for archeology collections. The museum will partner with Virginia Commonwealth University to recruit and train two interns. These students will reconcile the archeology collections inventory with accession records, rehouse the materials to meet state and federal standards, and digitize more than 50 items. In addition to these duties, each intern will select an aspect of their work to explore and present at a professional conference. The successful completion of the project will help create a scalable program to improve long-term preservation and access for the museum's collections.
The University of Minnesota's Goldstein Museum of Design will complete the last phase of a collections rehousing project to provide safer and easier access to approximately 190 textiles. The museum will purchase archival materials and additional storage equipment to rehouse and organize small to medium sized rugs. These range from Navajo rugs, rugs created as part of the WPA Minnesota, and traditional rugs from Turkey, Armenia, Iran, Eastern Europe, Mexico and Central America. The project will contribute to the long-term preservation of the textiles. It will also make the textiles more accessible for scholarship, documentation and exhibition, and allow them to be more easily used in university classes and the museum's community outreach programs.
Preservation Long Island's Sherwood-Jayne Farm will increase public access to its archival collections, while maximizing long-term preservation and laying the foundation for ongoing collections management improvements. The project will focus on processing six cubic feet of materials, including photographs, glass-plate negatives, diaries, books, scrapbooks, and correspondence. The society will secure the services of an archivist to organize, inventory, and rehouse the collection in archival storage containers. The archivist will support the curator in importing archival data into the collections database, scanning images, creating finding aids, and identifying material to feature in an online exhibition. The archivist will create a procedures manual for processing archival collections, which will guide staff, interns, and volunteers in future projects.
Victoria College's Museum of the Coastal Bend will implement the primary recommendations from its participation in the Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program. The museum will address the need for improved storage conditions and cataloging its object collections and archival materials. It will purchase equipment and archival supplies to rehouse its research and interpretive collections. The museum will employ student interns to catalogue at least forty percent of these artifacts in its online database. The project is part of a larger initiative to build the museum's capacity for a collections digitization project. Digitizing its collections would provide the public with access to artifacts from the last 13,000 years and insight into the history of the Coastal Bend, including prehistoric inhabitants and influences of European colonization attempts and Mexican settlement.
The Gadsden Arts Center and Museum will work with a diverse committee of volunteer quilting hobbyists, guest scholars, and organizations across Florida's Big Bend Region to celebrate generations of quilting traditions in Gadsden, Leon, and Jefferson Counties. The project team will curate an exhibition of quilts borrowed from private and museum collections. The quilts are from the 1830s to the present. Interpretive programs will be designed for people of all ages and levels of experience. These programs will help visitors explore the practical and social value of quilting across generations and highlight common values across diverse communities. A community-wide public art project, the Big Bend Quilt Trail, will be created in partnership with organizations, museums, schools, and other partners. The trail will engage the broader community to promote the exhibition, expand this celebration of quilting traditions, and promote community revitalization.
The Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum at Benedictine University will implement the primary recommendations from two previous conservation assessment reports. The museum will improve the long-term preservation of its collections, increase staff's ability to use them effectively and improve access for the public. Project activities will include improving the organizational efficiency and capacity of collections storage space by upgrading specimen shelving and cabinetry; conducting an inventory of the research collection; completing condition reports and updating information in the collections database; photographing up to 4,500 research specimens and providing public access by launching a website with a searchable database. The project will include an opportunity for undergraduate university students to assist with conducting the inventory and updating the collections database.
The Whaling Museum & Education Center will expand its educational programming to benefit underserved and high-risk students in grades 2 to 5, as well as their teachers and families. The museum will develop, implement, market, and evaluate core components of its programming to reach nearly 3,000 students and 50 teachers. Museum educators will present hands-on activities in nearby schools, using real and replica artifacts and other learning materials. They will also deliver workshops for teachers at the museum to help them incorporate primary resources from the museum's collection into their curricula. A family day event will showcase what students learned from the in-class visit through displays of art projects and science posters. Other project activities will include free afterschool library programs exploring STEAM and history topics and an increase in the number of scholarships to the museum's summer camp program.
The Portsmouth Athenaeum will complete the final planning phase of a multi-year comprehensive initiative to preserve the integrity of its historic buildings while improving access to its collections. The athenaeum will engage a museum HVAC engineer, preservation architect, museum space planner, and collections conservator. This team will develop HVAC and fire suppression designs, complete specifications and equipment selections for a newly-completed space reorganization and collections storage plan, and produce construction cost estimates to support fundraising for the comprehensive preservation initiative. The project builds on the findings and recommendations of systematic studies and audits conducted since 2014 with funding from local, state and federal agencies.
The Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) will expand its arts-based bilingual outreach program, ArteJuntos/ArtTogether, to serve up to 200 families in Westchester County's growing Latino immigrant community. Taught in both Spanish and English and provided at no cost to participants, the program promotes school readiness for children ages 3 to 5 while fostering social inclusion through parent engagement and access. ArteJuntos uses artwork from the museum's current exhibition as source material for inquiry-based discussions and collaborative art-making activities. The museum will add a new community partner and strengthen existing partnerships. It will also expand program offerings at both the museum and partner sites. Participants will share their accomplishments with their family and friends through take-home projects and community events.
The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture will expand its core program, Be Here: Baltimore (BHB). The expanded program will document and deepen public understanding of the city's African American culture through personal stories that offer new perspectives on the city's places and history. Through monthly storytelling events, story-recording stations, and project workshops, the museum will expand the collection of more than 1,250 stories and share them through digital platforms. The workshops will help underserved communities and young people develop skills in digital content creation, research, writing, and public speaking. A diverse range of "citizen storytellers" will learn how to use smartphones and publicly-available computers to record and publish their stories on free and open platforms. This will help the museum to ensure that an inclusive cultural record of Baltimore will continue to be accessible as technologies evolve.
The L. C. Bates Museum will provide professional conservation treatment for natural history specimens and create educational programming for the public about collections care. A professional conservator will complete conservation and stabilization treatments for 36 bird mounts and five fish mounts and their historic cases. The conservator will provide associated written and photographic documentation of the work to conserve and safeguard the historic collections. The museum will partner with Maine Archives and Museums to conduct a workshop for regional museums on the care of mounted collections. It will also provide exhibit and conservation-related tours for visitors and host a scholarly lecture on historic taxidermy. The project will build on recommendations received through the museum's participation in both the Museum Assessment and Conservation Assessment programs.