Museums Score National Grants

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Several museums in the state have been awarded a total of nearly $500,000 in funding. The money from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will support programs in Muncie, Evansville, Richmond and Indianapolis. Indiana museums receiving grants are:

Evansville African American Museum - Evansville, IN

Grant Program: Museum Grants African for American History and Culture

Award Amount: $150,000; Matching Amount: $152,494

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.

Indianapolis Museum of Art - Indianapolis, IN

Grant Program: Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums

Award Amount: $18,643

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.

Muncie Children's Museum - Muncie, IN

Grant Program: Museums for America

Category: Learning Experiences

Award Amount: $150,000; Matching Amount: $150,000

Muncie Children's Museum will fabricate and install "Discovery Park," a permanent, inquiry-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning exhibit focused on animals, habitats, and weather to support children's natural curiosity and enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills. The exhibit will augment school curriculum to expose children aged four through ten to 21st century educational elements of STEM, including observation, reasoning with numbers, evaluating evidence, and coming to conclusions. The project will support local community efforts to increase both early educational and STEM learning opportunities to help better prepare children for success in the ever-increasing global marketplace.

Joseph Moore Museum - Richmond, IN

Grant Program: Museums for America

Category: Collections Stewardship

Award Amount: $149,793; Matching Amount: $160,843

The Joseph Moore Museum will catalog, inventory, data enter, and improve research and educational access to the museum's mammal, ornithology, herpetology, and teaching collections. The museum will also make the collections available online through research portals, adding materials to existing international biodiversity databases for students, faculty, researchers, and community members. The database will include information from nearly 12,000 specimens - some information dating back to the 1870s—into a searchable research database. Through the ease of access to the research materials, the museum will encourage use of the collections for teaching and scholarly research.

Source: The Institute of Museum and Library Services

September 25, 2014

News Release

MUNCIE, Ind. (September 17, 2014) - The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is awarding a Museums for America grant to the Muncie Children's Museum in the amount of $150,000. The museum will use the grant funds to help create a new interactive exhibit entitled, Discovery Park.

Discovery Park will use animals, habitats, and weather to expose children to educational elements of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This 2,390 square foot exhibit will emphasize inquiry-based exploration for children from four through ten and will be the first major permanent exhibit renovation to the Museum since opening in its current location in 1996.

“Our grants are highly competitive. The Institute of Museum and Library Services enlists hundreds of library and museum professionals throughout the United States to review grant applications and make recommendations on projects most worthy of funding,” said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. “Receiving a grant from IMLS is a significant achievement, and we congratulate the Muncie Children’s Museum for being among the 2014 IMLS museum grantees.”

IMLS museum grants support a wide variety of projects that create learning experiences, strengthen communities, care for collections, and provide broad public access. For this grant cycle, IMLS received 554 applications from around the country for projects totaling $56,247,161. Of these, 196 projects including one from the Muncie Children’s Museum were awarded grants totaling $20,405,211.

“Support from IMLS will help MCM better utilize its exhibit floor to support STEM learning, a theme continually requested by our visitors. Getting our children excited and interested in STEM subjects is not only a national issue but also a local issue. Both educators and business leaders in East Central Indiana realize this is needed to develop a skilled workforce and develop into a viable economic region of our state. Discovery Park is MCM’s committed effort to help the community achieve this goal,” according to Patrick Burkey, President of MCM’s Board of Directors.

A complete list of museum recipients is available on the IMLS website at http://www.imls.gov/news/2014_all_oms_grants_list.aspx. For information about IMLS museum grant programs, see: www.imls.gov/applicants/available_grants.aspx.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Muncie Children's Museum

MCM was founded in 1977 by four mothers who saw the need for interactive and educational play in the community. With the help of friends, family, community organizations, and businesses, MCM was established. Today, this 25,000 square foot Museum offers exhibits and programs that focus on art, nature, science, history, and health. As the only East Central Indiana museum devoted to children, MCM is participatory which encourages learning on many levels. Whether they're discovering animals in the barnyard, shopping in the mini mart, taking a trip with the Munseetown Express model train, or climbing the ant wall, a child's sense of imagination and creativity is nurtured. To learn more, visit www.munciemuseum.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: The Muncie