Saturday, August 29, 2020

Historic Saranac Lake awarded IMLS Inspire! grant

Historic Saranac Lake (HSL) announced that it has been awarded an Inspire! Grant for Small Museums through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The $48,300 award will support HSL’s work to catalog and rehouse a portion of its image collections. The project will enable HSL to gain intellectual and physical control over its collection in preparation for a major expansion into the historic Trudeau Building adjacent to the museum. Over two years, HSL will create catalog records for photographs, postcards, and photo albums, and implement long-term archival storage. The project tackles a major next step identified in the museum’s recently completed Collections Preservation Plan, also funded by a grant from IMLS. 

“We are thrilled to receive this Inspire! grant from IMLS. This represents a significant move forward in our ability to preserve for our collections and make them available to members of our community, genealogists, and historians alike,” said Chessie Monks-Kelly, Museum Administrator. “As we prepare to create long-term collections storage areas in the Trudeau Building, it is even more important that we are able to manage our collections and make them available to researchers to preserve our unique history for generations to come.”

Through the course of the project, Monks-Kelly will create catalog records for approximately 2,000 images from the museum’s collections. She will rehouse and reorganize objects as needed and give individual objects unique identifiers. This project will also create guidelines for appropriate storage in the Trudeau Building based on data collected in the cataloging process. The catalog records will make it easier for museum staff to respond to requests from researchers and to better utilize collection images for exhibitions and programs. The catalog records will eventually be made available online for researchers.

This year, IMLS has announced $25,899,000 in grant awards for museums across the country. Through the agency’s largest competitive grant program, Museums for America, and special initiatives under this grant program, Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, a total of 190 projects were selected from 631 applications requesting $98,198,305. Institutions receiving awards are matching them with $36,379,177 in non-federal funds. Inspire! Grants for Small Museums, a special initiative of the Museums for America grant program, was designed to reduce the application burden on small museums and help them address priorities identified in their strategic plans. The 60 Inspire! grant recipients will focus on learning experiences, community partnerships, collections stewardship, or expanding access to collections and resources.

Learn more about Historic Saranac Lake at

Photo: Chessie Monks-Kelly examines a recent donation to Historic Saranac Lake’s Collection

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