Dallas cultural organizations win two of 28 prestigious nationalgrants awarded by IMLS for diversity and inclusion training
Dallas was a big winner when the prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced its list of 28 grants totaling approximately $1.99 million for a new initiative of its “Museums for America” program. IMLS received 147 applications from U.S. museums, and Dallas was one of only two cities to receive two of the coveted training and professional-developmentgrants. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Crow Collection of Asian Art each received grants of approximately $25,000 for diversity and inclusion training so that each organization might better serve the needs of North Texas.
“The Institute of Museum and Library Services grants are extremely competitive, so it’s a tremendous honor that two Dallas institutions – the Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science – received these awards,” said Amy Lewis Hofland, executive director of the Crow Collection of Asian Art. “The training and professional-development programs will not only help both museums become more compassionate and responsive to our audiences, but we also hope to share our experiences and learnings with other Dallas museums.”
The Crow Collection of Asian Art grant will address issues of difference, inclusion and equity by embarking on a multifaceted project involving professional development, programmatic testing and partnership, and the initiation of changes to make its physical space more inclusive towards all communities. All staff members will participate in a series of eight workshops on diversity and inclusion. As part of the project, the museum will launch an exploratory initiative that seeks to connect families of different ethnic backgrounds through weekend sessions at the museum to build community beyond each family's immediate neighborhood. Art and artmaking will anchor this program for toddlers and their families by combining exploration in the galleries and hands-on artmaking in the museum's studio space. At the completion of the project, the museum will produce a set of equity and inclusion best-practice documents that will act as a guide for all staff.
In recognition of the unique community demographics in North Texas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science will use the IMLS grant to develop training for its staff and volunteers to support the Museum’s continued transition to a bilingual (English and Spanish), cross-cultural institution. Working in collaboration with various community groups and civic leaders, the Museum’s evaluation team will engage community members, leaders and stakeholders through focus groups, interviews and surveys to collect perspectives on how language and culture shape museum experiences. Data collected over the next year will ultimately be integrated into the cross-cultural training for Museum staff. Subsequently, in-house “coaches,” who are committed to serving as cultural advocates, will assume responsibility for ensuring the cultural training continues to reflect community and institutional needs and preferences.
“As a result of this grant, the Perot Museum’s evaluation team recently conducted a focus group with members of the DFW Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. It was a resounding success, creating pathways for collaboration and reciprocity,” said Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive. “This is only the beginning, and we are so grateful that IMLS has given the Perot Museum and the Crow Collection an opportunity to advance our community engagement and outreach efforts in North Texas.”
IMLS Deputy Director of Museum Services Paula Gangopadhyay noted that the “robust response and high-quality applications to this special funding opportunity in its inaugural year were clear indicators of how this initiative was deemed relevant for the needs of the museum field. With these grants, all types of museums throughout the nation will be empowered to strengthen their role as vibrant community catalysts.”
About the Crow Collection of Asian Art. The Crow Collection of Asian Art is a nonprofit art museum located in the heart of the Arts District in downtown Dallas. It is one of only a few museums in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Asia, with a growing permanent collection featuring works from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam, spanning the ancient to the contemporary. Rotating exhibitions from contemporary artists, renowned collections, and in partnership with other art institutions throughout the world are showcased in the museum. The Crow Collection offers a serene setting for quiet reflection and learning including an array of arts and cultural programming and community-centered events for all ages. A gift to the City of Dallas, this museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays – Sundays (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and closed on Mondays. The museum is located at 2010 Flora St., Dallas, Texas 75201. For more information, please visit crowcollection.org or call 214-979-6430.
About the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The top cultural attraction in Dallas/Fort Worth and a Michelin Green Guide three-star destination, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a nonprofit educational organization located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, with campuses in Victory Park and Fair Park. With a mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the Perot Museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor and outreach experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The 180,000-square-foot facility in Victory Park opened in December 2012 and is now recognized as the symbolic gateway to the Dallas Arts District. Future scientists, mathematicians and engineers will find inspiration and enlightenment through 11 permanent exhibit halls on five floors of public space; a children’s museum; a state-of-the art traveling exhibition hall; and The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, the Victory Park museum has been lauded for its artistry and sustainability. To learn more, please visit perotmuseum.org