Erie Art Museum Awarded Prestigious Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Erie, PA, August 16, 2007 --( Thanks to a $65,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Erie Art Museum is able to continue one of the Museum’s education programs, Kids As Curators, through 2010. Currently in its third year, this innovative program targets middle school teachers and students and teaches them about the Museum process- selecting, evaluating, interpreting and presenting objects in exhibitions.

“The idea for the project came from two simple facts,” states Kelly Armor, the Erie Art Museum’s Education Director. “A museum is basically a place that presents interesting stuff in an educational context. Middle school students are voracious collectors. Most of us know a twelve-year old whose bedroom is a stockpile of American cultural artifacts. If we can get them to think about their stuff from an intellectual perspective, we can spark a lifelong interest in learning and museum going.”

In the 2006-07 school year, students from Wayne, St. Boniface and Walnut Creek schools worked on creating a mini-exhibit. After initial display at each school, all exhibits were mounted at the Museum in February 2007 for the public to enjoy. Past Kids as Curators exhibits featured clocks, clothing, toys, tools, photography and other pre-teen relics. The Kids as Curators exhibition is scheduled for February 2008.

“Museums for America grants invest in our nation’s communities by supporting museums as active resources for lifelong learning, cultural heritage, and community engagement. The programs and activities these grants support include hands-on educational programs, innovative uses of technology and ground-breaking partnerships. All help strengthen museum services and improve communities,” said Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Museums for America is the Institute’s largest grant program for museums, providing more than $17 million in grants to support the role of museums in American society to sustain cultural heritage, to support lifelong learning; and to be centers of community engagement. Museums for America grants strengthen a museum’s ability to serve the public more effectively by supporting high-priority activities that advance the institution’s mission and strategic goals.

Museums for America funding will support projects and activities, designed by the institution, that strengthen museums as active resources for lifelong learning and key players in the establishment of livable communities. Museums for America grants are designed to be flexible. They can be used for ongoing museum activities, research and other behind-the-scenes activities, planning activities, new programs or activities, purchase of equipment or services, or other activities that will support the efforts of museums to upgrade and integrate new technologies into their overall institutional effectiveness.

IMLS received 414 applications, requesting $41.9 million in support; 158 awards totally $17.4 million were given.

About the Erie Art Museum
The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings, including an outstanding 1839 Greek Revival Bank. It maintains an ambitious program of 15 to 18 changing exhibitions annually, embracing a wide range of subjects, both historical and contemporary and including folk art, contemporary craft, multi-disciplinary installations, community-based work, as well at traditional media.

The Erie Art Museum also holds a collection of over 5,500 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community. Performing arts are showcased in the 24-year-old Contemporary Music Series, which represents national and international performers of serious music with an emphasis on composer/performers, and a popular annual two-day Blues & Jazz festival.

The Erie Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free for members, free on Wednesdays, $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students and $2 for children under 12.

For additional information on the Erie Art Museum, visit online at or call (814) 459-5477.

Erie Art Museum
Tammy Roche