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November 14th, 2006
Grant Enables Museum to Partner with Leading Cultural Institutions to Enrich Philadelphia 4th Grade Education


The Philadelphia Museum of Art is pleased to announce it has received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). These grants help libraries and museums advance learning, build digital resources, and conduct research and demonstration projects, creating national models that will help foster individual achievement, community responsibility, and lifelong learning. The award of $246,550 will allow the Museum’s Division of Education to build on its 75-year partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to develop Art, Literacy, Museums, a program to teach the visual arts and to advance the literacy of every 4th-grade student in Philadelphia’s public schools.

To serve the estimated 13,500 4th graders citywide, the Museum’s nationally renowned Division of Education will collaborate with the Barnes Foundation, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Fabric Workshop and Museum. A ‘project team’ of museum educators, guided by a School District advisory committee, will develop a curriculum and teaching materials that feature works of art from the participating institutions, focusing on the natural relationships between engaging with art and developing language skills.

“The Museum is honored by this generous award, which enables us to partner with four of the city’s finest cultural organizations to expand our mission of educating young visitors,” Museum Director Anne d’Harnoncourt said. “Art, Literacy, Museums has the potential to inspire, delight, and enrich the minds of Philadelphia’s students today and well into the future.”

Added Senior Curator of Education Marla Shoemaker, “We are thrilled to introduce more young people to the Museum and to our sister institutions. The terrific thing is that it really helps kids to develop fundamental life and literacy skills that will help them achieve goals in so many other areas of their lives.”

As part of the “No Child Left Behind” federal legislation, Philadelphia’s public schools are required to meet yearly progress goals in math and literacy. In collaboration with its partner institutions, the Museum will address key literacy skills while exploring museums and the visual arts. Curriculum materials will be developed throughout this 2006–2007 academic year. After testing the program with classes in the spring of 2007, Art, Literacy, Museums will be officially launched in the fall of 2007 with lessons taking place at the Museum and at the four collaborating organizations.

The Art, Literacy, Museums project will not only incorporate more art education into the School District of Philadelphia’s 4th-grade curriculum, it will also provide new resources for teachers to creatively address core subjects, such as literacy skills, and to increase school group visits to museums while fostering new cross-organizational collaborations. The Museum will publish permanent teaching resources and make them available online through each institution’s website.

The Art, Literacy, Museums project has multiple impacts. In the Philadelphia community, the Museum aims to strengthen both students’ and teachers’ knowledge of the visual arts. The project will also demonstrate how the study of art advances literacy skills, providing a new national model for art institutions working together to create dynamic programming.

About the Division of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Founded in 1929, the Division of Education helps visitors of all ages find inspiring connections between art and life. An active schedule of programs, activities, and gallery interpretation, promotes the study of the visual arts as a rich resource for improving education, and extends the reach of the Museum’s collections to a broad, diverse audience. The department has developed nationally and internationally recognized programs for children, families, teachers, adult learners, and special audiences alike.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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