July 15, 2016


Press Contacts:
Giuliana Bullard
202-653-4799 gbullard@imls.gov

Janelle Brevard
202-653-4630 jbrevard@imls.gov

IMLS Announces Sparks! Ignition Grants Supporting Innovation in U.S. Museums

Washington, DC - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced more than $2 million in museum grants, including seven grants totaling $158,534 for the agency’s Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums program.

“IMLS encourages innovation in the museum field with our Sparks! Ignition grants, which enable museums to design and test creative solutions to the challenges facing our nation’s museums,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The 2016 Sparks! Ignition museum grantees continue the tradition with projects that have the potential to move the museum field forward in exciting ways.”

The list of Sparks! awardees provides descriptions of funded projects.  

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums provide opportunities to expand and test the boundaries of museum services and practices. Examples from the seven projects, include:

  • The development of an instructional model for museum educators by ESMoA in El Segundo, California, to help them create educational internship experiences for young adults, ages 18-30, with developmental delays. Through an online learning platform, with videos, lesson plans, worksheets, case histories, and supplementary reading materials, the project will provide free resources to be used and adapted by other museums.
  • A multi-faceted exhibit concept by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington, designed to enhance the visitor experience with new spaces, such as a research lab space where staff can interact with visitors and an area where collections managers can work while visitors watch, interact, and sometimes participate in the process. The museum will test and optimize the model, and share it with the rest of the field to help others improve service to their communities.

The Sparks! Ignition Grant awards are part of a $2.4 million in grants that IMLS announced on Friday. Additionally, the agency awarded $1.4 million under the African American History and Culture grant program and $972,000 under the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services grant program.

More information about museum grant opportunities can be found on the IMLS website.

Use the IMLS Search Awarded Grants tool to view our archive of grants awarded by the Institute. Search grants by grant name, institution, or project type.

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums