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Field Museum to receive federal grant for unlocking 350 million years of biodiversity

Chicago The Field Museum of Natural History is receiving $115,000 through the Collections Stewardship program category of the Institute of Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) Museums for America grant program. The money will be used for a project to digitize 75,000 fern herbarium specimens from the Americas and digitally photograph and database 7,000 fossilized ferns from North America.

On September 18, IMLS Director Susan Hildreth will present a workshop and ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to recognize the 2013 museum winners and to highlight successful applicants and awards. The event will showcase the many ways museums support learning experiences, serve as community anchors, and are stewards of cultural and scientific heritage through the preservation of their collections.

"IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections," said Hildreth. "It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning, and community engagement."

Collections help scientists determine changes in climate and collections are crucial in accelerating the pace of identifying and describing biodiversity. To deepen the engagement of students in collection-based programs at partnering universities and colleges in the Chicago region, The Field Museum project will provide training opportunities for graduate and undergraduate interns to participate in collection digitizing activities through a collaboration with the Student Center for Science Engagement at Northeastern Illinois University.

"Natural history collections, such as those at The Field Museum, are the only comprehensive records embodying millions of years of evolution. Professionally managed collections are crucial in documenting fossilized and living members of the world's ecosystems and in giving us a glimpse of the changes over time" commented the Museum's Vice President of Science and Education, Debra Moskovits.


Contact: Nancy O'Shea
Field Museum

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