For Students

UMMA Receives $150,000 Grant from IMLS for Engaged Learning Collections Access


The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) has received a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant will support UMMA’s Engaged Learning Collections Access Project, an effort to create and enhance data for 5,000 works of art in the Museum’s permanent collection.

“This grant from IMLS is key in helping UMMA achieve its goal to reach beyond our walls to build a stronger, broader community,” said Joseph Rosa, UMMA Director. “Along with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Michigan Third Century Initiative, this IMLS grant will enable the development of virtual strategies that will seamlessly integrate the onsite and offsite experience for our visitors.”

The Engaged Learning Collections Access Project will enhance core knowledge about the Museum’s artworks and improve the ability to search records in the Museum’s collections management system. UMMA will bring together a team of curators, graduate students, and collections staff to document and improve data—including applying established keywords to improve searchability—for objects that have been identified as user priorities. With this significant IMLS funding, UMMA will make focused and rapid progress on increasing core knowledge about these key objects—a major advance in its ability to deliver information to K-­12 and University teachers, their students, youth, and adult online audiences. 

The one-­year project will begin on November 1, 2015 and coincides both with a dramatic expansion in Museum curatorial staff (from two curators to four) and the development of a transformative set of technology projects including a new website, collections management system, and the UMMA Exchange—an interactive, digital platform for Museum-­based teaching and learning. After the grant period, UMMA will update more collections records annually, improving 1,200 objects a year with the expanded curatorial staff and graduate student support.

The award is part of the IMLS Museums for America—Collections Stewardship grant program that supports the exemplary management, care, and conservation of museum collections. This grant is the largest award UMMA has received from the Institute. “IMLS helps museums provide opportunities for visitors to experience science, history, art, technology and living collections in unique and interactive ways,” said IMLS Acting Director Maura Marx. “With this federal support, museums all over the country will be better equipped to care for their collections, create exhibitions and learning experiences for visitors, and contribute to a better quality of life for their communities.”