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PAS/R!DC awarded IMLS Grant for Small Museums

Jun 11, 2019, 11:57 AM by PAS Marketing

Small Museums Awarded Over $1.1 Million in Federal Grants
New Grant Opportunity “Inspires” Significant Response Across the Nation

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the first grant projects funded through the Inspire! Grants for Small Museums initiative, launched in 2018. The agency received applications from 202 organizations that requested grants totaling $8,634,902. IMLS selected 30 grantees, who will receive a total of $1,172,324 and voluntarily match these awards with an additional $588,304.

“Small museums hold important collections documenting the nation’s cultural and natural history, and they are deeply rooted within their local communities,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “We recognize that these organizations have unique needs. The significant response from museum applicants demonstrates the importance of this new program. We’re pleased to be able to empower small museums in their continued growth, outreach, and community service.”

Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program, was designed to reduce the burden on small museums and help them address priorities identified in their strategic plans. Grant proposals could focus on learning experiences, community partnerships, collections stewardship, or expanding access to collections and resources.

Examples of Inspire! funded grants include:

  • 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 Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York, will expand its arts-based bilingual outreach program, ArteJuntos/ArtTogether, to serve its growing Latino immigrant community. Provided at no cost to participants, the program promotes school readiness for children ages three to five while fostering social inclusion through parent engagement and access.

  • The Racine Zoo in Racine, Wisconsin, 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. The zoo will create 30 internships in its Animal Care and Conservation Education departments for university students or recent graduates over the course of the project.

  • The Pratt Museum in Homer, Alaska, will partner with the City of Homer and the Homer Public Library to 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.

“We continually assess how our grants are meeting the needs of the museum sector, and revise our programs accordingly,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museum Services. “We heard common challenges expressed by small museum applicants, such as limited staff, operating budgets, and resources. In response, we created the Inspire! initiative specifically for smaller museums, making the cost-share element optional to remove the barrier for those who might not have funding to match. We’re pleased to be able to award this first cycle of grants to these 30 new projects at small museums of all types.”

More information about museum grant programs and open funding opportunities can be found on the IMLS website.

For more on the challenges that museums of all sizes face in caring for their collections, the Heritage Health Information Survey infographic overview and report were released in February 2019.

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 libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Programs: Inspire! Grants for Small Museums

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