AMHERST, MASS.- The Mead Art Museum
at Amherst College has received a $148,256 Museums for America Program Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to digitize more than 10,000 objects in its collection, including prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, and silver.
The Mead is one of fifteen museums in the state of Massachusetts to receive this prestigious award, and one of 160 institutions nationally, from a pool of 481 applicants. In announcing the awards, IMLS director Susan Hildreth offered her congratulations to the Museums for America grantees. Hildreth noted, "We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high value activities that benefit communities throughout the U.S. These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come."
The IMLS grant will allow the Mead to meet the first goal articulated in the museum's strategic plan, to digitize its entire 16,000-object art collection, and in this way, to aid in the fulfillment of its mission, which seeks to make the collection available to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Amherst College, and to visitors from around the world.
The IMLS grant will allow the Mead to build on its notable recent progress in its efforts to digitize the collection. Currently, thirty-seven percent of the museum's collection is illustrated in a searchable public database: http://museums.fivecolleges.edu/. By the completion of the project, one hundred percent of the collection will be illustrated.
"The results of the IMLS grant promise to be transformative," said Elizabeth Barker, the Mead's director and chief curator. "With the entire collection available for browsing on line, college faculty members and high school educators will find it simpler to select relevant objects for teaching, scholars from beyond our region will be better able to assess the utility of a research visit, and community members will gain a greater appreciation of the Mead's marvelously various and fine quality holdings." The grant-funded digitization project is scheduled to begin immediately, and continue for eighteen months.