Launched with a $25,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, CARES will determine the potential for community and statewide collaborations in collections-driven research, education, storage, preservation, and conservation efforts, and inform the conceptual design of a MAM collections center in Missoula.

In fall 2017, MAM received a prestigious $25,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) program, Museums for America. Only 24% of applications to this highly competitive program were funded, placing MAM in the national ranks of 138 projects that support the IMLS goal to to connect communities to their artistic and cultural resources. IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew says, “As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other.”

Montana has a rich history, and its institutions hold important collections of artwork, documents, and archival materials. However, many of the state’s museums and libraries are experiencing shrinking capacity as collections continue to grow. CARES will determine the potential for collaborations in collections-driven research and inform the conceptual design of a MAM collections center in Missoula.

Project Director Brandon Reintjes says, “Museums and libraries tend to develop and expend resources independently. However, there are significant opportunities for us to collaborate with our colleagues throughout the state, specifically in regards to collections. We’re extremely proud to have received this important national grant.” Nearly $22,000 of the total grant will stay in Montana communities and provide direct benefits for Montanans, including training stipends and new access to much-needed resources.

Denver-based book and paper conservator Beth Heller to Missoula to provide training to statewide museum and library staff. Local experts also contributing to the project include consulting architect Warren Hampton, Mansfield Library Head of Archives and Special Collections Donna McCrae, and Sue Near, a 35-year veteran of collections and administration at the Montana Historical Society. Their efforts will benefit an estimated 50 staff from institutions across the state, and by their efforts, help the public to enjoy, study, and understand our cultural collections.

CARES Activities

  • Statewide Collection Assessment
    MAM has attempted to identify the directors of every museum, library, and archive in Montana and invite each to participate in a survey. More than 230 organizations were included; if your institutional wasn’t among them, please contact Registrar Jennifer Reifsneider to be included. In early 2018, MAM will post the survey analysis prepared by conservator Beth Heller.
  • Community Design Charrettes
    The public is invited to attend three design charrettes to help MAM develop conceptual plans for a new collection center in Missoula. Such a facility might serve the needs of the local community as well as statewide museums, libraries, and archives by providing resources for secure storage, object conservation, and education using cultural collections; what are your ideas? Architect Warren Hampton will join MAM staff in facilitating open discussions and brainstorming. Location and other details will be forthcoming. 
    Friday, March 16, 1 – 4 p.m.: Conservation & Preservation
    April TBA: Education & Research
    May TBA: Physical & Digital Storage

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