Field Museum to receive federal grant for unlocking 350 million years of biodiversity

September 12, 2013

Chicago --The Field Museum of Natural History is receiving $115,000 through the Collections Stewardship program category of the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) Museums for America grant program. The money will be used for a project to digitize 75,000 fern herbarium specimens from the Americas and digitally photograph and database 7,000 fossilized ferns from North America.

On September 18, IMLS Director Susan Hildreth will present a workshop and ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to recognize the 2013 museum winners and to highlight successful applicants and awards. The event will showcase the many ways museums support learning experiences, serve as community anchors, and are stewards of cultural and scientific heritage through the preservation of their collections.

"IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections," said Hildreth. "It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning, and community engagement."

Collections help scientists determine changes in climate and collections are crucial in accelerating the pace of identifying and describing biodiversity. To deepen the engagement of students in collection-based programs at partnering universities and colleges in the Chicago region, The Field Museum project will provide training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate interns to participate in collection digitizing activities through a collaboration with the Student Center for Science Engagement at Northeastern Illinois University.

"Natural history collections, such as those at The Field Museum, are the only comprehensive records embodying millions of years of evolution. Professionally managed collections are crucial in documenting fossilized and living members of the world's ecosystems and in giving us a glimpse of the changes over time" commented the Museum's Vice President of Science and Education, Debra Moskovits.
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About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Field Museum


The Field Museum was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. These form the core of the Museum's collections, which during the past century have grown to more than 25 million specimens. The collections, coupled with active research programs, increase the Museum's ability to understand the past, explore the present, and shape a future rich with biological and cultural diversity.

Photo available upon request.

Field Museum

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