The national Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded two separate grants to fund projects at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site. Both facilities are part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The grants were awarded through the institute’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, which supports projects that strengthen the ability of individual museums to benefit the public by providing high-quality, inclusive learning experiences, maximizing resources to address community needs through partnerships and collaborations, and by preserving and providing access to the collections entrusted to their care.
The Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores received a $240,808 grant for the “Future Waters” exhibit, which will provide conservation and sustainability education about aquaculture, sustainable fisheries, and coral propagation through the new exhibition and related activities. The Future Waters exhibit will feature multimedia experiences to showcase the behind-the-scenes work of aquarists, a 750-gallon habitat featuring a sustainable fisheries project, and an interactive opportunity to engage with the coral rearing area of the aquarium. Paid interns will provide interpretation to the public while working in the visible labs within the exhibit.
“We’re thrilled to receive funding from the IMLS which will help us create our Future Waters gallery,” said Aquarium Director Liz Baird. “The Aquarium’s mission of inspiring appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments is directly linked to this new gallery, and we hope it will help our guests connect with the multiple ways we can all help protect and conserve our waters.”
Town Creek Indian Mound received a $147,439 grant to improve its interpretation of the American Indian experience by planning, designing and fabricating exhibit kiosks in a pilot phase of a larger project to renovate its exhibitions. The multimedia kiosks will feature video footage of tribal representatives discussing the artifacts on display, their place in history, and modern-day parallels. Nine different American Indian tribes from the Carolinas, along with local community groups, will provide critical insight on the interpretation of American Indian history and culture. An American Indian Advisory Council will approve all final decisions. The project will culminate with the unveiling of the kiosks, sharing of the videos online through the site’s website and social media, and the production of a white paper and a half-day symposium sharing best practices that can be applied to other historic sites.
“This effort is a direct result of our commitment to an evergreen goal of True Inclusion at our historic sites – sharing the stories of the often-marginalized communities whose lives intersect with these historic places, through inclusion at every level,” said Michelle Lanier, director of the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites. “We are grateful to IMLS for recognizing the importance and power of amplifying North Carolina’s American Indian history as imperative to understanding the history and future of this land.”