CINCINNATI.- The Cincinnati Art Museum announced today that they received a two-year, $116,928 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support a comprehensive initiative to evaluate and strengthen family learning experiences at the Museum. The grant will enhance the Museum’s Education Center and Closer Look Gallery, two specialized areas developed for family visitors to the Museum.
“We are pleased to receive this grant, which will enable us to make the Museum even more appealing to family visitors,” said Ted Lind, curator of Education at the Museum. “We are also pleased that our Education Center, open less than a year, is being recognized nationally as a valuable resource for families.”
The funds, matched by private donations, will support a broad range of activities intended to have a lasting impact on the Museum’s ability to attract families with school-age children and provide them with the tools they need to have a rewarding museum experience. Specifically, these include funds towards programming in the Education Center and Closer Look Gallery, including family-oriented exhibitions, games, books, an art studio and an interactive learning space that changes regularly to connect with traveling exhibitions and/or the permanent collection, and a new program, Art in the Making, which features different artists-in-residence each month in the Education Center.
Other plans for the project include professional development for Museum staff and volunteers, including consultation with educators from the Denver Art Museum, a national leader in family-oriented programming; creation of a full-time Family Learning Coordinator devoted to Education Center programming and an evaluation of how families perceive and respond to their experiences at the Museum, conducted with assistance from the Institute for Learning Innovation, a national non-profit organization that specializes in self-directed learning.
“The Museum has already been making strides in intergenerational and family programming, supported by the fact that we tied for Top Art Museum for Families in a recent Parenting Magazine survey,” said Lind. “Family Fun Guides and Family First Saturday programs, in addition to the new Education Center and Closer Look Gallery, are some of the learning opportunities we will enhance with this new grant.”
The grant is part of the Museums for America competitive grant program, the largest grant program of the IMLS, which provides more than $16 million in grants to support the role of museums in American society. The Cincinnati Art Museum was one of only three museums in Ohio to receive one of these grants.
“With their rich collections, museums enable visitors to physically connect with history, science and the creative process,” said Dr. Robert S. Martin, director of the Institute. “The Museums for America grants will help museums advance their role as trusted resources that serve communities by creating and sustaining a nation of learners.”
In addition to the IMLS grant, the Museum recently received a large grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support interactive early childhood education programs that feature the Museum’s permanent art collection.
“These national grants enable us to serve as a community resource where adults and children can learn about art and have fun doing it,” said Lind.