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Princeton University Art Museum Receives Major Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant

PRINCETON, N.J.- The Princeton University Art Museum has been awarded a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will support development and execution of new strategies of engagement and interpretation for all of the Museum’s collections galleries and study rooms.

The $500,000 award will fund, in part, a key new Museum initiative, Activating the Collections, including the establishment of a new position, a Curatorial Fellow for Collections Engagement, who will work with curators, faculty, students, guest scholars, artists and other experts across disciplines to develop and present compelling interpretative approaches and materials. The grant also will establish the Museum Voices Colloquium, which will function as a visual arts think tank in bringing together traditional and non-traditional experts to consider new ways of understanding art of the past and present.

“We are delighted to receive such an important award from the Mellon Foundation,” said Museum Director James Steward. “This grant will allow us to make more dynamic use of our extraordinary global collections and to link these collections more deeply both to our academic community and to the broader public.”

Activating the Collections echos an institutional focus on cross-media, interdisciplinary approaches to working with the Museum’s collections of more than 72,000 works of art, and will include substantial gallery refurbishment and reinstallation, on a regular basis, as a way of probing the collections more deeply.

“Through the Activating the Collections program, we are seeking to present and interpret our collections in ways that offer value to our visitors and new models to the museum community, including creating a prototype open study classroom for one of our most significant collections areas – our holding of works on paper,” Steward added.

The philanthropic support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been of vital importance to the Museum for many decades. In 1985, the Foundation awarded an endowment challenge grant to support the production of scholarly publications based on the collections. In 1992, a three-year grant was awarded to fund seminars conducted by faculty and visiting scholars, focused on underutilized collections within the Museum. A second three-year grant, in 1995, provided for graduate and undergraduate internships as well as new coursework in the Department of Art and Archaeology that concentrated on the Museum’s collection of African art. In 2002, the Mellon Foundation awarded an endowment challenge grant that has enabled the Museum to more closely integrate the collections into the University’s teaching and research missions.

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