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