Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) has received a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the amount of $46,916 to support the digitization of 1,700 photographs from the permanent art collection. This is the second peer-reviewed federal grant that LUAG has been awarded in two years, an accomplishment that is rare in the field.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant in support of making LUAG’s collections more accessible to a broad public, and are also extremely proud to have been awarded a second grant from IMLS in such a short period of time,” said William B. Crow, director of LUAG and professor of practice in the Department of Art, Architecture, and Design. “It speaks to the dedication and hard work of the LUAG team, who are making great strides to increase the impact of our work."
Part of the Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, the 22-month-long grant project will provide funding for study trips to peer institutions, as well as the purchase of equipment to digitize the collection, such as computers, scanners and cameras. It will also support training for LUAG staff and Lehigh students to learn alongside a professional photographer to build capacity and sustainability over the long-term.
“Digitization is such an important step in making collections accessible to the widest possible audience," said Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Mark Wonsidler, who will serve as project director. "Certainly in the past year, we have seen how important our digital assets can be!”
A total of 60 museums across the United States received the grants, which support projects that focus on learning experiences, community partnerships, collections stewardship, or expanding access to collections and resources.
Last year, Lehigh University Art Galleries was one of 18 institutions in the United States to receive a prestigious federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
LUAG’s ongoing implementation of this Museums Empowered grant supports the museum’s work over the next two years to create and implement a strategic plan; train staff in outcomes-based, visitor-centered practices; and bring guest experts to Lehigh. Staff, who will collaborate with an external consultant, will also meet with colleagues at peer institutions in New York City and Philadelphia and share the art museum’s work at a national conference.
The aim, Crow said, is to build capacity, increase impact and better serve the galleries’ diverse audiences, which include college students, faculty and staff; PK-12 students and educators; and the greater Lehigh Valley community.