Arkansas State University Museum receives relief funds in wake of COVID-19

by George Jared ([email protected]) 270 views 

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded Arkansas State University Museum $51,921 through its NEH CARES: Cultural Organizations program. The purpose of this emergency relief program is to assist institutions and organizations working in the humanities that have been affected by COVID-19.

The NEH CARES funding will be a critical supplement as ASU Museum prepares for a phased reopening to the public this fall. The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was passed by Congress to help offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant will effectively double ASU Museum’s corps of gallery staff through December 2020.  With an augmented workforce, the museum will develop new culture- and history-based tours and gallery activities that ensure pandemic standards of hygiene and social distancing, according to Dr. Marti Allen, museum director.

The expanded gallery crew will prepare the galleries for pandemic-appropriate group sizes and devise sound strategies of program delivery and interval cleaning.

“With these very special funds in hand, the museum hopes to safely sustain a solid level of cultural and history-based science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) learning activities,” Allen said.  “This work is critical to our mission-driven endeavors to connect our regional audiences with their history, engage them in progressive thinking, and enable them to feel, once again, the sense of community they have been missing due to the pandemic.”

According to an announcement by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), more than 2,300 eligible applicants sought funding under the highly competitive NEH CARES grant category. Of these, 14%, or 317, were funded.