You’ll soon be able to gaze upon works from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College’s famed Southwestern art collection from the comfort of your home.
Thanks to a major grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the 100-year-old institution will begin a three-year project to improve the documentation, preservation and accessibility of its Native American, Hispanic, Spanish Colonial and 20th-century American art.
“The work itself is what a museum can and should be doing, to make the museum more permeable to people who can’t come,” said FAC Museum Director Rebecca Tucker. “Here’s a federal institution recognizing museums are important. These grants show museums operate as a holder of cultural information. That sharing of information is a key part of the mission of what we do for our communities.”
The $243,000 grant will enable 3,000 pieces of the museum’s permanent 20,000-piece collection to be digitized. Beginning in early December, a portion of those 3,000 works will be available for free online viewing. New works will be added to the online platform every couple of months over the next three years. Viewers also will be able to go into the collection and build their own personal collection of favorite pieces.
Before all that happens, though, the FAC will send out a short public survey to those on its mailing list asking for input on which part of the collection to digitize first.
“The goal is to share the collection more broadly with the world,” said Tucker. “Lots of people don’t know we have this tremendous resource or connections to local communities and history of the region. We realize everybody can’t get to the museum every day or we can’t show (works) all time. Digitization is a wonderful tool to add more access.”
After multiple attempts, this marks the first time the FAC has won the prestigious grant.
“IMLS is pleased to fund projects in museums across America that are making impact on their local communities, helping preserve and make collections more accessible and enriching lifelong learning experiences,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, deputy director of the IMLS Office of Museum Services.
A few other Colorado institutions also received grants. The Denver Art Museum received more than $382,000 to improve preservation and management of objects in its collection, and to extend its Creative Aging initiative by creating new arts programs for its older adult population.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science received about $250,000 to redesign and expand its Space Odyssey exhibit. And the Denver Zoo received about $135,000 to expand its nature play program for early childhood learners.
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