Since 2006 the IMLS African American History and Culture (AAHC) program has offered grant opportunities to African American museums and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since its inception, this program has supported capacity building through professional development. Over the past six years, IMLS has awarded grants to museums and HBCUs nationwide for projects that range from educational outreach programs, such as the Tubman African American Museum project, to alliance-building projects that share resources and encourage sustainability, as seen in the Florida African American Museum Exchange project.
As these successful programs progress, many past and current AAHC grantees have asked how the program can meet the changing needs of future grantees. This question shows that African American museum professionals are looking to move beyond capacity building and are ready to engage in projects and programs that can propel the African American museum field forward. To respond, we are posing this question to you and providing a new platform for open a dialogue about how AAHC can meet the changing needs of the field.
In the coming months we will invite current and past grantees to contribute their project experiences via blog posts on our UpNext Blog and then ask you to respond through the AAHC Virtual Forum. We hope that this virtual forum will
- address the progress of the AAHC grant program from the grantee perspective;
- create opportunities for the sharing of best practices (and practices to avoid!);
- encourage AAHC grantees to explore other IMLS grant programs, such as Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums; and
- provide resources and assistance for successfully obtaining Museum Assessment Program (MAP) and Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) grants.
We hope you will add your voice and share your needs and opinions so that AAHC can continue to help African American museums thrive. Please visit the AAHC forum to continue the conversation.