Grant will help University of Iowa museums and libraries spread art and programming even in pandemic

A collaboration between four University of Iowa-based institutions will soon help bring their programming to wider audiences who can’t access them during the pandemic.

The Stanley Museum of Art, the Office of the State archaeologist, the Pentacrest Museums and University Libraries are partnering on the project, which secured a $200,327 grant to expand their senior programming in Southeast Iowa.

The money will be used to digitize collections from the four institutions and to create virtual events that senior living facilities can do with their residents. They also will record events, such as talks with scholars or art projects. The recordings will be available to access anytime online.

“We have about 4 million objects in our collection,” said Elizabeth Reetz, director of strategic initiatives at the Office of the State archaeologist. “We’ll be taking high-quality images of a lot of our objects and writing interpretation and question guides that can go with them … We have a lot of photographs digitized but haven’t had the time and money to really ramp up digitizing objects before now … The Pentacrest and UI Libraries are getting special cameras to do 3D tours of their galleries.”

She’s already been doing digital outreach during the pandemic, holding online lectures and discussions with archaeologists. This will be a chance to expand that effort.

“Since the pandemic, we’ve all been dabbling in this. It’s been a really short time to learn new ways of engagement and outreach,” she said. “Before, my office in particular spent a lot of time traveling to give in-person and classroom classes, and that all stopped.”

The grant is funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which set aside money for museums and libraries responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The grant also will help pay salaries for project staff

Three schools to benefit from U.S. DoDEA grant to expand STEM programming | Articles

Three Fairfax County public schools will benefit from a five-year $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to expand programming in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Fort Belvoir Primary School, Fort Belvoir Elementary School, and Whitman Middle School will receive funding to support Project OWL (Outdoors While Learning).

Project OWL was developed to support military-connected students who face unique instructional and social-emotional challenges. The program includes:

•    Outdoor learning spaces such as native plants and vegetable gardens.

•    Integrated classroom spaces designed to engage students in STEM using an interdisciplinary approach.

•    Environmental field trips such as those sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. 

•    Enhanced recess activities that will encourage students to be inclusive while having fun.

•    Afterschool and summer STEM enrichment programs.

•    Family wellness activities with help and support from the community. 

The Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education of the National Science and Technology Council states that it is critical to national security to have students spark interest in critical and fast-growing careers in STEM.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for eligible dependents of U.S. military personnel and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense. It has congressional authority to provide resources to public schools to support the continuity of education for military-connected students through a competitive grant program. 

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