The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) has been awarded $246,500 in federal funds from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to design, produce and deliver new digital learning resources to support individuals and groups affected by COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
IMLS awarded $13.8 million in IMLS CARES Act Grants nationwide to support the role of museums and libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The 68 funded projects were selected from 1,701 applications requesting $409,251,399, and institutions receiving awards are matching them with $1.7 million in nonfederal funds. PHMC is one of only three organizations in Pennsylvania to receive an IMLS CARES Act Grant.
Through the "Pennsylvania History to Go" initiative, PHMC will film, edit, and produce virtual tours of museums on the Pennsylvania Trails of History and create infrastructure to produce live digital programs.
As part of the project, PHMC will engage with community organizations to promote and distribute these virtual tours to underserved audiences. An internal steering committee will manage production, and an external advisory panel consisting of school educators, library staff, multicultural representatives, agents for people experiencing barriers to access, Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs staff, and other partners will coordinate content, access and distribution.
“Since the pandemic shut down PHMC sites and museums in March, staff has shifted focus on delivering programs virtually and on making our collections increasingly accessible online to people who can’t visit our sites and museums right now,” said PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery. “These funds will help support that endeavor, creating content that will be useful through the pandemic and beyond.”