September 20, 2005

Museum wins grant for database project

by Paula Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A $149,715 grant will enable staff at the University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale to add thousands of priceless artifacts to a comprehensive database.

The money comes from the prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Services. Lori Huffman, curator of collections, authored the grant with input from the museum's staff.

It will fund the museum's 21st Century Collection Management Project, which notes details on every single artifact, including its creator, date of creation, its purpose, size, medium, its intended use and so on.

"This project will enable the museum to share its resources with both in-house and online communities and constituencies and will foster long-range benefits in distance learning, research, exhibits and programming," said Dona Bachman, museum director.

The University Museum was among a mere 169 museums out of 543 applicants to receive such a grant.

Since 1999, museum staff has entered 13,000 of 54,000 pieces. Now, it will complete the task through an aggressive 17-month plan to computerize information on the remaining 41,000 items.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant-funding agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities.

Providing cultural outreach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence through Commitment, the long-range plan the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.