The Hampton University Museum is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $218,669 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Museum Grants for African American History and Culture that will expand the accessibility of its African American art collection through a three-year collection management software implementation project.

“Thank you to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for continuing to support us, and allow for expansion of the Hampton University Museum, the nation’s oldest African American museum and one of the oldest museums in Virginia,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey. “This grant will ensure that our Museum can continue to preserve the rich heritage and legacy of our galleries that are dedicated to African American, Native American, Asian and Pacific art and artifacts.”

Building on a recently completed inventory and digital documentation project, the museum will be able to hire a data manager to input data to its collections management system on paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and fiber arts.

The collections data manager will lead training sessions for the museum’s curatorial team to ensure their proficiency in using the software system and their ability to carry on the work at the end of the grant period. In each year of the project, four student interns will work with the staff to scan curatorial records including catalog cards and accession paperwork.

2015 Exhibitions at the Hampton University Museum

“The Hampton University Museum is pleased to receive funding from IMLS to hire a Collections Data Manager, whose position will be to focus on pulling our various databases together into one. This position is funded for three years, which provides a fantastic start in transferring this data from catalog cards to an easily retrievable format for efficiency in gathering information on our strong and varied art collection. We are thrilled to provide this type of accessibility for our staff and constituents,” said Dr. Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Director of Hampton University Museum and Archives.

As part of the grant, the museum will present small, online exhibitions that will make the collections more fully accessible to scholars, educators, students, and the public.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government whose mission is to provide lifelong learning, build capacity of museums and libraries, increase public access to information, ideas and networks through libraries and museums, and to achieve excellence.

Great gestures, What do you suggest the grant should be used for?