IMLS announces 206 awards made through its largest museum grant program 

Washington, DC–The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced grants for 206 museum projects totaling $21,149,000. The museums were selected from a pool of 548 applications to the highly competitive Museums for America grant program. Institutions receiving the awards are matching them with $29,346,091 in non-federal funds.
"Museums play a vital role in their communities supporting learning experiences and inquiry for people of all ages, fostering civic engagement, and serving as stewards of collections that represent the nation's cultural, historical and scientific heritage," said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. "The federal support provided by IMLS will help museums all over the country, enabling their best efforts to provide the highest level of public service."
The Museums for America grant program funds a variety of projects developed by museums (and gardens) to better serve its public. This year's funded projects highlight many American Public Gardens Association members, including:
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden, will stabilize and strengthen its long-term partnership with the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment (BASE), a small high school co-founded by BBG serving underprivileged students, as BBG transitions from one of many community partners to the sole partner of BASE. Through the partnership, BBG connects students to plants, ecosystems, environmental science, and agriculture through direct experiences in field-based learning.


  • The New England Wild Flower Society will develop and administer an educational outreach program intended to create a network of pollinator gardens throughout New England that are filled with plants that support a broad diversity of pollinators, addressing the drop in pollinator populations across the U.S. 


  • The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) will conduct Phase I of the NYC EcoFlora Project which will include the development and prototyping phase of a database of naturally occurring plant species, and their relationships with other organisms and physical conditions that allow plants to exist. This major New York City-wide initiative, led by NYBG, will leverage local natural history collections, biodiversity data, and citizen scientists to understand the dynamics of the city's native plant species. 


  • Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden will create a sustainable environmental education program that supports and reinforces the standards-driven science instruction in the local school district in order to increase students' engagement with, and mastery of, science concepts.


  • The Desert Botanical Garden will partner with Cultivate South Phoenix and Phoenix area schools to develop a community space that will serve as a food hub and a center for community education programs, arts programming, and place-making activities. The project addresses health and wellness issues affecting many residents of the south Phoenix area, and it will develop and test a new place-based youth education program that will prepare students for continued education and workforce readiness.


  • Chicago Botanic Garden will implement its "Food as Medicine" project through the Windy City Harvest program to address the need for healthy, fresh food in food-insecure Chicago communities. In coordination with two health clinic partners, the Windy City Harvest program will launch a produce prescription program aimed at making fresh, affordable produce available to more than 100,000 low-income residents.


  • Missouri Botanical Garden will restore the 60-acre Whitmire Woodland Natural Area at its Shaw Nature Reserve. The Reserve provides stewardship and interpretation of a living collection and natural areas that feature Missouri's diverse natural plant communities.


  • The Atlanta Botanical Garden will implement DNA barcoding of its world-class collection of 2,000 orchid species in collaboration with barcoding experts at Columbus State University. This project will use existing DNA tools for documenting and verifying plant species to increase the scientific value of the collection, making it more accessible to a wider audience.


  • The University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum will develop a geospatial collections database and series of GIS apps for mapping and managing the institution's living collections. The integration of plant, animal, and natural community data into a single geospatial relational database will provide critical information for guiding collections stewardship.


  • Mount Auburn Cemetery will use new technologies and field data collection methods to inventory, document, and map the plant collections within a five-acre area surrounding Washington Tower, a highly diverse horticultural area within the cemetery.


IMLS will be accepting applications for the FY 2017 Museums for America program through December 1, 2016. For more information see the Museums for America webpage and the blog post highlighting changes in the FY 2017 museum grant programs