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Natural History museums have identified a need to transform their traditional spaces into vital forces for science education. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) will implement “Seeing as a Scientist,” a design-based research initiative to develop and test gallery interventions that have the potential to increase scientific observation skills for family groups. Working with the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE), CMNH will pilot a series of quick changes and additions to dioramas and outline expectations for each. Visitors will be observed to measure the degree of engagement in scientific observation (deliberate looking in order to understand visual evidence)--an essential skill for learning across scientific disciplines. The four most promising interventions will be evaluated to determine which are most successful in providing the necessary support for families to establish shared focus and two-way, science-based conversation. The project will include a blog to share information and to disseminate the results to other museums.
The Detroit Zoo will develop an innovative partnership to help underrepresented students achieve success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) higher education and careers. The “Learning Classroom—Community of Practice” project will bring together the zoo’s informal educators and STEM content experts with partners at the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program and Oakland University’s School of Education and Human Services in four workshops designed to create a shared language, vision and values around program development and implementation. The group will develop methods for addressing developmental needs of youth while providing science education relating to wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship. They will also build a process for bringing new members into the collaborative with the ultimate goal of delivering large and sustained STEM projects in the metropolitan Detroit area. While focusing on creating a positive impact on STEM achievement and success in Detroit area youth, the project will identify aspects of the process that can be replicable in other regions.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) will test the effectiveness of both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology in tracking visitors carrying smartphone devices as they move throughout the museum. This anonymous data will enable them to see where a person is located in the gallery, how they move around, and how often they return to the museum. The museum will also provide visitors with location-based collection content, accessible via smartphone, based on their location within the galleries. To accomplish this, IMA staff will develop software for collecting and analyzing visitor data and will enhance TAP, an open-source tool for building mobile tours, to provide location-based content. With such data, museums of all types will have the ability to better understand their visitors and provide more personalized and engaging experiences for their audiences.
Lincoln Park Zoo will rigorously test, validate, and launch its wildlife endocrinology database, Wildlife Endocrinology Information Network (WEIN), as a comprehensive wildlife endocrinology data repository that will reduce needless duplication of work and to make broad knowledge and resource sharing possible across institutions. The database will centralize and store information regarding endocrine monitoring and analysis in various species. The global accessibility of this resource will play a key role for zoological institutions utilizing wildlife endocrinology, the study of hormones in wildlife species, as a tool to measure an individual animal’s overall health, including reproductive status. It will also promote the building of science-based foundations for animal welfare and reproductive success—helping to sustain healthy zoo populations and support wildlife conservation in the field.
The UC Davis Arboretum will address the challenge of effectively managing increasingly complex museum projects that involve multiple teams, communities and outside partners through a project to rapidly prototype, test, and evaluate the use of low-cost cloud-based collaborative tools that can help museum staff reduce the stress of managing their inboxes while improving efficiency and effectiveness. Museums across the U.S. are in the midst of transforming their institutions to support 21st century skills, yet their own back of house operations often rely on outdated technical tools; many museums still use email as the primary tool for managing tasks, collaborating on documents, making and tracking group decisions, coordinating schedules, communicating ideas and idea development, and for overall project management. Although individual museums will need to devise their own strategic approach to collaborating online, UC Davis will produce a roadmap and white paper as a valuable resource to guide the museum field along the first steps toward replacing emails with online collaborative workspaces.
The Stewardship Stories project is a collaboration between the ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center and WPTZ News Channel 5 (WPTZ) that will prototype a museum-media partnership that combines the interpretive expertise of a science center, the mass public appeal of a television news channel, and the accessibility of a community-driven Web site to engage audiences to take environmental action in their local communities. By creating a new conservation correspondent position producing weekly news segments, the project will provide authentic examples of community members taking responsibility for stewardship of the natural environment while the museum adds tangible 21st-century solutions for meeting the rapidly evolving social and educational needs of audiences.
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, Illinois, will launch an heirloom seed library that will provide free, regionally adapted seeds to urban farmers. The seed library is dedicated to conserving the diversity of our planet's seed stock and fostering sustainable food systems and communities throughout the city. The project changes the way cultural institutions address the pressing issue of sustainability, making new connections between environmental diversity and cultural diversity. The public is invited to apply for a library card in order to "check out" seeds with the agreement that they grow them out and return some seeds of the next generation at the end of the season. The seed library will be a way to make a necessary resource accessible to a broad group of people, create a new community of urban farmers, and bridge those who grow for fun and those who must grow out of necessity.
The Museum of Photographic Arts (MoPA) will develop "Your Photo Here," a project designed to build the capacity of museums to engage with audiences online through an advanced online contest. The project will create open source software to facilitate online submission of user-generated content including photographs, videos, written narratives, and weblinks. The software will also support public voting on the content, thereby encouraging the contest to spread virally through participants' networks of friends, family, and colleagues.
Experience Music Project (EMP) will broaden participation of the museum’s teen audience through the implementation of EMP Top 10—an interactive tool designed to cultivate teens as active contributors to, rather than passive consumers of, popular culture. EMP Top 10 is an in-museum and online activity in which visitors can nominate and vote for favorite songs and compare a dynamic, visitor-generated list to authoritative lists drafted by industry professionals and experts. Top 10 activities will leverage Web-based tools to advance the quality and scope of interactions with EMP’s exhibitions and programs, particularly by youth aged 10-19, a demographic that comprises 24 percent of museum visitors, and whose participatory needs are rapidly changing in response to newly emerging media.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) will utilize its experience in visitor research, arts education, and technology to conduct a series of controlled experiments that use eye-tracking technology. The project will consist of three experiments that aim to demonstrate the usefulness and potential barriers to wide adoption of eye-tracking technology by the museum community, as well as determine if such methods provide useful tools for improving visitor experience. The results of these experiments have the potential to reveal entire new fields of study and applications for museum management, fostering a deeper understanding of the cognitive processes of visitors in the gallery and potentially offering an avenue for improved user-interface design to deliver interpretive resources.
This project seeks to deepen understanding of the ways museum drop-in programs can be designed and implemented so that they reflect principles of universal design for learning and are inclusive of visitors with disabilities. The Museum of Science, Boston will explore two innovative approaches to the creation of accessible programming. The first approach is the formation of a community of interest that connects museum educators with advisors, some of whom are individuals with disabilities who work in disability-related fields. The second approach is the use of the design charrette to rapidly create and refine museum programs so that they reflect principles of universal design.
Please Touch Museum and its partner, the Philadelphia Zoo, are planning to develop and pilot a staff training and retention program. The project is an effort to address the desire of several Philadelphia non-profits to hire staff from their neighborhoods in order to combat underemployment and unemployment in their community. It is intended to help improve the local economy, fill available entry-level positions and, most importantly, retain employees from the neighborhood once they’ve been placed in these positions.
Virtual Illinois: A Roadside Guide (vrillinois) combines location-aware technologies, user-friendly web-mapping applications (e.g., Google Maps, Mapquest), and the rich historic datasets of the Illinois State Museum to develop mobile and web applications to allow users to navigate historic landscapes in real time. This guide will allow the public to query the database on their mobile devices by theme (e.g., art, paleontology, etc.) and create virtual storylines through the use of tagged data points. It will be built so that nontechnical staff can add content to the framework with ease. It will also be a community resource, allowing local historical institutions and the public to add data, comment on existing data, and customize the framework for their own use.
The Mattress Factory museum of contemporary art will complete the first phase of development for creating a digital app for iPads called "You Are the Artist!" for children three to six years old. This first phase of the project includes designing the pedagogy, content, look and design, and user-interface plan. Mattress Factory education and media staff will work in collaboration with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) to research and develop content for the app, which will enable young children to engage with specific works of art in the Mattress Factory’s permanent collection.
The Minnesota Historical Society will explore data visualization as a new method for providing access to archival collections. Visualizing History is a project targeted at visitors and museum staff. It will demonstrate how data visualization can be used to transform static documents into meaningful graphical interfaces. It will focus on the prelude to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, a devastating and far-reaching conflict whose representation must be rooted in primary sources, and whose complexity demands the kind of intricate modeling that data visualization can provide. The project will produce three data visualizations, each supported by a carefully documented process for applying the precepts of visualization to museum archives. Visualizing History will contribute to the development of 21st-century historical literacy and will demonstrate the power of visual technology to encourage primary source-based learning.
The Museum of Art and History at the McPherson Center will use this grant to support the Loyalty Lab project, the goal of which is to develop strategies for small and mid-sized cultural institutions to track, celebrate, and deepen participant engagement. The Loyalty Lab will enable small institutions like the Museum of Art and History to celebrate and cultivate deeper relationships with participants by experimenting with low-tech, low-cost techniques for tracking and rewarding participation. Using customized strategies from the for-profit world of customer relationship management, museum staff and volunteers will work together to explore ways to celebrate active visitor participation, encourage deeper and repeat engagement, and support relationship building in a systematic way. This work will be shared with colleagues at small institutions around the world through a blog-style website documenting the work in real time.
Tribal museums have a valuable role to play as physical repositories of ritual objects that are currently in use, providing protection, care, and respect. The Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum will use its grant to establish a legal framework that spells out the responsibilities of museums in storing and protecting cultural heritage without transferring ownership, and outside a typical loan agreement. Sample legal agreements and contracts, along with standards and procedures, will be developed and made available through outreach programs for other museums to use.
North Carolina Botanical Gardens “Healing and Hope through Science” program will partner with NCSU College of Design to design and create a hands-on, interactive, miniature nature exhibit called the Plant Play Pushcart. This greenhouse-garden-on-wheels will provide a bedside field trip for hospitalized children at UNC Hospital that will be, experiential, multisensory, and safe. It will enable children to work with live plant materials without danger of infection by using a sealed greenhouse-type structure. Interacting with the Hands-on Plant Play Pushcart will increase enjoyment and positive distraction, decrease perception of pain, and provide environmental education to hospitalized children who are typically denied the healing effects that nature experiences can produce.
The collection, storage, and care of large objects present ongoing challenges for museums of all sizes. The Center for Wooden Boats will test photogrammetry on large collection items, or macro-artifacts, to measure size and monitor changes over time. Changes in dimension can help alert collections managers to the need for active or preventative conservation treatment. The project team will develop, test, and refine a procedure for using photogrammetry to monitor dimensional stability on a variety of watercraft and other maritime macro-artifacts, resulting in procedures that will ultimately be usable in vastly different museum environments and subject areas.
Despite considerable excitement surrounding the promise of 3D printing, the use of this technology in the museum setting is, as yet, unevaluated. The Art Institute of Chicago will experiment with innovative approaches to audience engagement using 3D technologies. Various programing will be tested on adults, families, teens, and tweens to evaluate the potential impact of 3D printing technologies on engagement with museum collections. The museum will develop guidelines and modular program “recipes” to be shared with other museums and educators.
In partnership with the North Carolina Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will work with a software developer to prototype a state-of-the-art software application that will enhance and make more meaningful the museum experience for visually impaired and blind visitors. The application, based on one developed for hotel environments, will provide detailed way-finding maps and enhanced exhibition interpretation. The application will be made available for other museums to adapt for their own environments.
The Indian Removal, a federal policy that relocated Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river, left little historical record and makes teaching and learning about both Native American history and contemporary Native American life in Ohio difficult. To address this undervalued topic, the Ohio Historical Society will implement The Oklahoma & Ohio Exchange, a collaborative project with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Ohio K-12 teachers, and Oklahoma K-12 teachers. The project will establish protocols and models that can be translated from this project to other museum partnerships that hope to forge relationships with educators in diaspora populations.
San Diego Society of Natural History will use popular technology, social software, and digitized natural history collections to reconnect the public with nature. NatureSpace addresses the challenge of making digitized natural history collections, which are traditionally not designed to be accessible to the average person, more engaging through a new user-friendly front-end interface. Working with volunteer organizations interested in interpreting three local natural areas in the San Diego region, the museum will prototype 18 user-centered tools such as scavenger hunts and interpretive walks for the NatureSpace mobile application. The final products will be openly shared with the museum community.
The Chabot Space & Science Museum will produce Random Acts of Science, a pop-up science education program for underserved neighborhoods in Oakland. Inspired by, and in partnership with, the Oakland Firefighter’s Random Acts (a philanthropic outreach organization of Oakland Firefighters), the program will pair trusted and respected firefighters with astronomers and science educators, arriving by fire engine to communities whose members are least likely to come to the Science Center. Chabot will use mobile technology and equipment such as a traveling telescope, computer hookup, and large portable screen. The combination of portable astronomy equipment with the excitement of a fire engine has the potential to serve as a model for science education community outreach programs.
Through Art in Health: Observation in Practice, the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum will address the lack of evaluation in art observation training for medical professionals and attempt to determine what influence such training partnerships have on the clinical skills of students. As well as developing documentation for an innovative art observation training program, the museum will prototype a tool to assess student skills improvement in simulated clinical settings. If transferability of skills learned at museums to external professional contexts can be established, it will encourage a societal reframing and revaluing of art museums as sites of critical skills acquisition. All training materials and research results will be posted online.
The Indianapolis Zoo will develop and test a new public education and conservation awareness program focused on orangutans. As zoos shift their priorities toward becoming conservation epicenters, a new generation of exhibits is needed to serve audiences with meaningful experiences that will foster both an appreciation for endangered animals as well as a concern for their survival in the wild. By enhancing current touch-screen computer demonstrations used to highlight the mental abilities of orangutans, the zoo will allow visitors to engage with the apes while viewing themed infographic animation designed to cultivate both an interest in the species and the desire to donate to orangutan conservation activities (reforestation efforts in Borneo). The results of this test will be shared as part of the continued effort to blend enriching educational content with messages that lead to conservation action.
The National Audubon Society, which represents a network of 41 nature centers across the U.S., will develop a process for integrating student field experiences at nature centers with digital mapping applications that foster continued learning back in the classroom. In partnership with the Joplin (MO) Schools, and Esri, an international supplier of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, the project will help all land-based museums to use GIS mapping to better connect with school students and advance STEM learning among that segment of their visitors. The products of this project will include a pilot curriculum that integrates mapping into an existing school program, an e-book published by Esri Press, a workshop presentation, and a community of environmental educators that adopt the methodology.
The Sandy Spring Museum will pilot The Barter Economy: A New Museum Membership program based on the concept that there are professional services of value to museums that can be bartered in exchange for membership benefits. Small museums, in particular, often have limited resources to access professional services in their community. This project will test a new membership model with the potential to build a greater sense of ownership within a museum's community while building deeper relationships between the museum and its constituents. The program will be designed to create a win-win scenario wherein the museum benefits from professional services or goods and the barterers receive something that is of value to them but results in no direct cost to the museum. The structure, tools, and lessons learned from piloting this membership model will be shared widely within the museum community.
The Tulane University Biodiversity Institute will prototype a multi-camera, computer-operated photogrammetric imaging system (named COPIS) for producing 3-D reconstructions of fluid preserved specimens. The project will prioritize type specimens - those specimens critical to naming and describing species and higher groups of organisms - which are often the oldest and most fragile specimens housed in natural history collections. The prototype imaging system will dramatically reduce both the handling time for these delicate specimens as well as the time and computational costs associated with creating the 3D reconstructions. Previously accessible only to visiting scientists, these specimens will now be accessible for researchers and the public, and can be used to educate students about taxonomy, biodiversity, and morphology. The methods developed in this project will be useful for imaging all types of fluid-preserved specimens and will be shared widely with the natural history community.
Minnesota Children's Museum will develop and test messages and delivery mechanisms intended to help parents and caregivers understand, embrace, and practice playful learning with their children. Research shows that play is critical to development, building skills necessary to thrive in school, work, and throughout life. However, children play an average of eight hours a week less than they did 20 years ago. The museum will test tools that convey the importance of play along with practical ways that parents can incorporate more play into their children's lives. A variety of delivery techniques - web, social media, texting, and other vehicles - will also be tested. The information, tactics, and best practices resulting from this project will be shared at a national community of practice gathering with peer children's museums across the nation.
Through "Museum at Your Fingertips," the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) will test the BeamPro telepresence robot, a new learning tool that aims to bring the museum experience to underserved children whose schools are unable to afford transportation. The device will move, see, and speak through the direction of classroom participants. BPOC will pilot the project in five classrooms and the San Diego Air & Space Museum and evaluate the device's successes and limitations throughout the process. The project will also be tested for children with special needs and its progress will be documented through social media. Results will be disseminated to the museum field and through partnerships with local and national press outlets.
ESMoA will work with a community partner, Mychal's Learning Place, to develop a model to support free and accessible instruction for museum educators that will increase their comfort and expertise in creating educational internship experiences for young adults, ages 18-30, with developmental delays. An online learning platform - consisting of instructional videos, lesson plans, worksheets, questionnaires, case histories, and supplementary reading materials - will be created to give institutions tools that they can use to design and implement programs that will provide this unique constituency with real-world challenges, which can build independence and self-esteem while teaching skills that increase overall employability.
The Children's Creativity Museum will test an adaptation of the Augmented Reality Sandbox (AR Sandbox) targeted at children aged 2-12. The AR Sandbox is an existing open-source educational tool that allows older users to manipulate the surface of a sandbox and create colorful visualizations in real time that convey sophisticated geological and hydrological concepts. By developing new facilitated activities and interpretive signage for young children using the AR Sandbox, the museum intends to deliver STEM content; offer a new tool for creative expression with the sand and color projections used as an artistic medium; and support early childhood literacy by inviting children to use their fingers to write letters and numbers. The results of this work will be shared through the existing AR Sandbox Forum community.
The Springfield Art Museum will collaborate with the Missouri Job Center and Springfield Public Schools to create and evaluate the Art@Work program for fourth graders. Art@Work is intended to provide valuable information to the museum field, arts organizations, educators, and workforce professionals regarding the role that museums and arts organizations might play in workforce preparation. The project will develop a curriculum through a collaborative process that includes the classroom teacher, the museum educator, and the workforce development specialist. Classroom activities, followed by fieldtrips to the museum, the job center, and other sites, will lead students through exercises designed to cultivate communication and organizational skills, as well as skills related to conflict resolution and teamwork. Intended outcomes include the development of workforce skills in elementary schools and the identification of strategies for partnerships between art museums and workforce preparation organizations.
ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, will collaborate with a network of community organizations to develop and launch an online platform that provides shared services for creating a new culture of clean water. Past efforts to help clean up the Lake Champlain Basin have been fragmented and unsuccessful. This new effort will enable network participants to establish a shared measurement of success, host a dashboard of community level indicators, and share stories articulating the values of clean water. The project's process and results will provide guidance for institutions that are exploring the value of engaging a network of partners addressing a shared social, cultural or environmental community challenge. With ECHO as the backbone organization, this project will serve as a model that demonstrates how to strengthen museums and libraries as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities.
The Mountain-Plains Museum Association (MPMA) will create a retiree think tank to identify effective ways to bring retirees back into the museum field as participants, volunteers, trainers, and mentors. With the baby boom generation turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 per day, MPMA will explore how museum retirees are redefining this life stage through a year-long series of meetings designed to develop no-and low-cost ways for retired museum professionals to have easier access to and better involvement with the museum community. With a cohort of retirees who want to stay connected to the museum field, MPMA will test multiple ideas to create a model that supports the implementation of this kind of programming by individual museums. MPMA will document the most promising findings to share with other museum associations to replicate in their regions.
The New England Museum Association will explore the "generative meetups" concept by launching the Museumhive project. This new professional development model will connect regional museum professionals with thought leaders to create local content on topics of national interest to the museum profession. The initial theme will focus on "the distributed museum," a museum not bound by its physical location but integrated throughout its community. The project will support six in-person meetups featuring presentations by national thought leaders talking about their work via live Google Hangouts. After each meetup, staff and volunteers will index and archive the Hangout video, summarize the event on a Wordpress site, invite additional contributions via email and Twitter, and then prepare a short e-publication summary designed to help staff connect the topic to their own experiences at their museums. This experimental format for hive-created content will be shared with other museum associations for national replication.
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture will test a multi-faceted exhibit concept designed to resonate with audiences and create effective learning opportunities. The museum is in the process of constructing a new facility that will enable staff to provide better care for the collections and reimagine the traditional natural history museum visitor experience. The project will test key ideas of the "New Burke." The new facility will include a research lab space where staff can interact with visitors on a regular basis; a flexible space for groups to gather for hands-on learning that bridges the more traditional galleries and the collections side of the museum; and spaces for collections managers to do their work while visitors watch, interact, and sometimes participate in the process. The project will enable the museum to prototype these spaces, get feedback, and make adjustments before opening to the public.
The American Jazz Museum will hire a registrar to enhance the accessibility of the museum's collections and create four semester-long paid internship positions focusing on collections and education. The registrar will be tasked with responsibilities related to collections care and management of special projects in the collections department, including ensuring safe and proper handling, transportation, exhibition, storage, and documentation of permanent collections and loans. To ensure the success of each intern, the museum will develop a sound, three-way partnership between the museum, the students, and the colleges or universities they attend. The interns will be recruited from University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Kansas, and Kansas State University and will work on projects that increase the accessibility of the museum's collections and offer valuable job experiences to the students.
The Amistad Center for Art & Culture will hire an education associate to help build the organization's staff capacity in order to sustain, expand, and enrich interpretive, educational, and its community engagement programs. The newly hired education associate will develop visitor-centered interpretive programs using the museum's collections and exhibition scholarship, as well as manage educational programs for adults and children based on the art and culture of people of African descent. An evaluation consultant will help identify the museum's audiences, assess current programs, and incorporate evaluative systems into new initiatives to inform program development and decision-making.
The Amistad Research Center will hire a project archivist to process 15 archival collections highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions. An inventory of the collections will be created and selected materials emphasizing multigenerational African American achievement in STEM professions will be digitized to improve public access. Highlights of the collection will be shared through social media and Amistad's blog. The project supports the Amistad Research Center's role as a repository of collections documenting African Americans in STEM professions while providing an emerging archivist valuable experience in the evaluation, organization, preservation, and description of complex archival collections.
The Evansville African American Museum will partner with university, library, and non-profit community service organizations to make its museum exhibits and programming more accessible and engaging for diverse audiences by focusing on community engagement and outreach efforts. The museum will develop four exhibits and five traveling trunk exhibits for schools and community groups. Project activities will include staff and volunteer professional development in the areas of diversity and inclusion best practices, leadership skills, and museum operations. Staff will create policies and written procedures for program planning and development, audience development and tracking, communications, resource development, and evaluation tools and assessment procedures. Staff and volunteers will benefit from professional development and training, and the general public will benefit from increased access to museum resources and the museum's further development as a community anchor for the city of Evansville, Indiana.
The California African American Museum (CAAM) will redesign its hands-on learning exhibition, the Gallery of Discovery, publish a curriculum aligned with California state standards, and provide on-site professional development workshops and in-class support to a network of teachers from local schools. To accomplish these objectives, CAAM will hire an education consultant and increase the hours of its outreach coordinator. These two positions will work in collaboration to identify the needs of the target schools and recruit teachers and students for CAAM's Education Expanded! Initiative. The project will increase access to arts and culture programming for students and their teachers through on-site programming and off-site learning experiences. Project activities will address the disparity of access to arts and cultural opportunities among middle and high school students from Title I schools in the museum's immediate and adjacent neighborhoods.
The John Gilmore Riley Center and Museum will coach African American heritage and culture organizations in four states (Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia) to focus on assessment, training, technology integration, intergenerational exchange, development of emerging leaders, and strategies that promote sustainability. The partnering organizations include: the Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network; the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission; and Virginia Africana: The Network of Museum, History and Preservation Professionals. The project includes six multi-state meetings in each of the three target states over a two-year period to provide on-site training and technical assistance. The four partner organizations will develop the knowledge and skills that are necessary to serve as an education and training resource in their respective states, develop more global knowledge of diverse museums and cultural organizations, and learn how to identify and emulate successful models.
The Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) will undertake a two-year project to develop a traveling exhibit and public programs to illuminate cultural traditions of giving in African American communities and the history of black philanthropy through artful photography and insightful first-person narratives. The library staff at JCSU will begin working with key local partners to design, curate and fabricate the exhibition as well as create collateral educational and marketing materials in print and online. The exhibition's touring schedule at college campuses and cultural museums and institutions, primarily throughout the South, will include robust community programming during each four to six week exhibition period.
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will hire a curatorial graduate student intern, create a postdoctoral fellowship in African American history, and establish a professional development fund that will allow staff at all levels to take advantage of training programs relevant to their work as museum professionals. In collaboration with the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the postdoctoral fellow will experience hands-on learning in curatorial practice and collections; research and write articles that focus on topics in African American history, museum collections research, and upcoming exhibitions; and host two public talks that highlight civic and cultural engagement as related to his or her museum research. The graduate student intern and postdoctoral fellow will develop valuable career skills, and the professional development fund will enhance the ability of the museum staff to present information about the lives of African Americans in Maryland.
The Museum of African American History will use IMLS funds to build upon past collections initiatives; strengthen its institutional collections and interpretation capacity; increase its presence as an incubator for African American professionals in the field; and increase access to its collections among schools, educators, researchers, and the public. The project supports the recruitment and hiring of a director of collections and exhibitions who will provide the skills needed for the assessment, documentation, and preservation of the museum's collection while guiding the professional development of the staff. The newly hired director will also expand the museum's Collections Internship Program into a year-round experience that will provide the opportunity for graduates to become museum professionals who will increase the capacity and visibility of the African American historical and cultural institutions in the nation.
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History will enhance its staff capacity and train current educational staff in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education delivery, both of which will increase its ability to deliver interpretive tours and programming around the newly opened permanent exhibition, “Inspiring Minds: African Americans in Science and Technology.” The project will include hiring a full-time STEM educator to work with education and archival staff to create and implement a family learning approach to the sciences in the rich context of African American history and culture. A training facilitator will develop a cohort of STEM interns and train current staff educators to present STEM learning experiences. At the conclusion of the project, the museum will have increased staff capacity and widespread expansion and integration of STEM opportunities for the youth, families, and schools of Detroit.
The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) will hire a curator of exhibitions and public programs who will build on NAAM's strong track record of presenting high-quality exhibitions. Over the course of two years, the new curator of exhibitions and public programs will work with the executive director and an arts consultant to develop a three-year exhibition and program plan. This plan will be used to manage, evaluate, and develop the museum's programs and will align with NAAM's mission and long-term institutional strategic planning efforts. The curator will also receive leadership training from the consultant and work to increase the museum's profile within the community, regionally, and nationally though development of public programming initiatives, civic and community partnerships, professional development, and networking.