By Kelly Canright
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona State Museum won a two-year $112,500 grant from the Institute for Museum Services earlier this month.
The 101-year-old museum will use the funds to improve and expand its public education programs, including in-house programs and outreach to schools and the general public, said Bruce Hilpert, Arizona State Museum curator of public programs.
The bulk of funds will go toward hiring a museum educator for a two-year period. The Arizona State Museum is one of the only museums in the community that is presently without a full-time educator, Hilpert said.
Improvements for the museum include educational programs, such as a development of pre- and post-visit activities for guided tour programs.
The museum plans to develop self-guided discovery tours for seventh and eighth grade students. Hilpert also said the museum plans to host teacher inservice days and teacher support and curriculum materials.
The programs for the public will include lectures, educational tours and child-oriented summer classes.
The hope is to create a field school in conjunction with the archaeolgy department so that members of the community can get involved in archaeological excavations.
The funding will also be used to improve emergency response to disasters Ä such as floods or earthquakes Ä that might threaten the museum's collections or the safety of visitors and staff.
Hilpert said a water pipe broke and flooded the museum last year. The need for special equipment and everyday equipment such as mops, covers for exhibits and sandbags is necessary.
The funding is fairly unique because of its flexibility. Anthropology department head John Olsen said, "I'm very enthusiastic. It sounds like a wonderful thing, not only for the museum, but for the Arizona public as well."
The museum hosts exhibits focusing on Southwest anthropology, particularly prehistoric cultures such as the Hohokam. On Sept. 30, the exhibit "Faces of the Fiesta" will open presenting Mexican dance masks.
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