Grant award will support a new pilot project that will help small museums access best practices and build capacity in a range of museum technology subjects at no cost
The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced a National Leadership Grant for Museums award of $259,920 for the Digital Empowerment – Technology and Digital Media Training for Small Museums project, a new collaborative, fieldwide capacity-building effort. This pilot project will help small museums access best practices and build capacity in a range of museum technology and digital media subjects—from collections digitization to website and education resource development and discoverability to virtual engagement strategies—at no cost.
The Digital Empowerment Project will be led and managed by the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) and will bring together the other five U.S. regional associations as collaborative partners: Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM), Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA), New England Museum Association (NEMA), Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC), and Western Museums Association (WMA). A technology consultant will offer expert guidance on the project with technology instructors and student technology fellows. This is the first time that this group will embark on a single nationwide action-oriented effort.
“We appreciate the vision and leadership of IMLS in bringing our organizations together for this very timely and important collaborative project,” said Charity Counts, Executive Director of AMM. “It is a great honor to collaborate with my regional association peers on the Digital Empowerment Project. In addition to providing critical training and resources for small museums, this project will provide a foundation and framework for future collaborative programs and initiatives.”
“We are thrilled to embark on this project with our fellow regional associations and collaborative partners. We are thankful for the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create this critical and necessary resource for small museums”, said Averie Shaughnessy-Comfort, MAAM Executive Director. “We’re also looking forward to developing a framework for future collaborative programs and initiatives.”
Zinnia Willits, Executive Director of SEMC said, “The Digital Empowerment Project will provide important opportunities for peer-to-peer connection, inspiration and networking as well as high-quality technology instruction for small museums looking to add virtual components to their operations. The collaborative aspect of this initiative has already proven beneficial to capacity building among the regional associations which comprise a diverse group of professionals who share common passions for arts, culture, preservation and providing accessible professional training at all levels.”
“We are thankful for the generous support by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and honored to be working with our fellow regional museum associations to create a small museum specific digital literacy program,” said Jason B. Jones, WMA Executive Director. “This grant comes at a time of tremendous need for small museums to develop and strengthen digital media practices, and supports WMA’s continued work to ‘change the museum field through collaboration.’ It is also a recognition of our leadership and innovative work to build the resilient museum field of the future.”
The Digital Empowerment Project will present a series of ten digital media and technology modules featuring hands-on, step-by-step training sessions by museum technologists coupled with contextualizing introductory sessions featuring strategies used by peer museum practitioners. All live session recordings and supplementary resource toolkits will be organized in a publicly available Resource Hub website featuring an online community forum supported by student technology fellows.
Made possible by a National Leadership Grant for Museums Award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
About the Association of Midwest Museums: The Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit professional service organization with a focus programming and resources for museums located in an eight-state region including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Founded in 1927, AMM is among the oldest museum service associations in the U.S. and currently serves a membership of over 950 professionals and organizations, from small county historical societies and historic sites to large art institutions and science centers. To learn more, visit midwestmuseums.org.
About the Regional Museum Association Partners: The six regional museum associations are the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM), Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM), Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA), New England Museum Association (NEMA), Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC), and Western Museums Association (WMA)—collectively referred to as the Council of Regional Associations (CRA). All CRA members are 501(c)(3) non-profit professional service organizations providing educational programs for museums of varying types and sizes (majority small to mid-sized) in their region.
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 www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.