Funding, Innovation and Co-creation Opportunities for Museums in the Digital World!

This session will provide helpful insights, tips and resources to the MCN community about IMLS’s funding focus on “all things digital” as it pertains to learning, collections and community related themes. The session will be chaired and moderated by Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services. Case studies of awarded digital projects will be shared by the grantee panelists. A dedicated segment will be offered on IMLS’s recently funded special initiative, Museums for Digital Learning (MDL) that has brought together three leader museums (Newfeilds, Field Museum and History Colorado) to create a shared digital platform aimed at empowering the entire museum community to collectively help K-12 education community.


Unknown Speaker 00:00
What we have planned for you today is slightly different than a general session. We want this to be as participatory rather than just listening to us talk for the entire one hour. And I'll tell you the reason. On behalf of IMLS, we, of course try to share best practices where the agency's direction and strategic priorities are. But we also take these opportunities as a listening opportunity. So that if we are missing something, in terms, especially in terms of sector wide need, this is an opportunity for us. So what we're going to do is this hour is divided into two segments, as I call it, we have chunk ties date, I know there's no word like that. We have chunk dies this into two segments. The first segment, we each one of us are going to speak for about 10 minutes, I'm going to give like a broad overview, insights from what we are finding out some gaps that we are seeing how IMLS has made a digital and explicit focus. And then I'll give examples of some of the national leadership grant projects that are very aligned to you know, what we are seeking. And then, of course, Jessica and Wendy are going to be talking about their IMLS funded project, we'll take a briefly you know, some Q and A's, we'll do a q&a, in case you have pertinent questions either for me or for any of them, and then it's going to be your turn. And we have flip charts out there. And after you've heard everything from us, what we want to do is we want to divvy you up in two groups, take the flip charts, and then ideate about, you know, the needs proposed solution, or some collaborative projects that you as you know, sector representatives, you know, feel, and like I said, we take what the input that you provide very seriously, so it will be very helpful for us to do that. So, okay, so that's the plan. So I'll get going, how many of you already know about IMLS, you've applied. And you know, if you haven't, if you haven't, we are the primary source of federal funding for the nation's libraries and museums. As per the FY 19. appropriation, we receive 242 million bulk of that funding goes to grants to state for the libraries. And then the remaining is divvied up between the library office in the museum office. And in terms of discretionary grant, the good news is that the museum side has actually more than the library side. So which is you know, as I say that we love to get more money to give away more money. And even though you can think about these, you know, these times is being challenging.

Unknown Speaker 02:46
We've actually received 3 million more in the last few years. So you know, that shows that the work that all of you are doing is making an impression. And you know that the folks value the decision makers and the stakeholders value, the contributions of museums and libraries. So that's the good news. And of course, in terms of eligibility, museums, of course, can apply, but they have to meet X number of criteria that we have. But many times we find that people don't know that if you're a nonprofit, or if you're a foundation, or a university, you are also eligible to apply. And that is in the National Leadership Grant category. So that is something that oftentimes when we are presenting, we see these expressions on people's faces, Oh, we didn't know we could even you know, apply to IMLS. So that's something that we always, you know, highlight and the current level of OMS funding for the FY 19 year was $34.7 million. So which is a pretty pretty large chunk, you know. So in terms of a quick overview of the museum grant programs we traditionally used to have for grant programs, Museums for America, which is about $20 million. And only museums can apply to that to that program. The National Leadership Grant for museums, like I mentioned, is open to museums and other institutions, relatively smaller pool of money, because this is also a pool where we fund many cooperative agreements. And then we have a dedicated program called the museum grand for African American History and Culture, which is, which was actually put together it's in its 14th year now. And it was part of the same legislation that led to the formation of the the National Museum of African American History and Culture. And then we have the Native American and Native Hawaiian museum Services Program. And that is only open to federally recognized tribes. So even if you are a Native American Cultural Center, that is not a program to apply, because that's only open for federally recognized tribes, Native Americans cultural centers can apply to any of the other grant categories. So this was sort of the landscape. And then I know I joined in 2016, as the deputy director. And, you know, as a practitioner prior to joining,

Unknown Speaker 05:16
you know, IMLS, in this capacity I was with the Henry Ford museums in Dearborn, Michigan, and in my entire career has been in museums and other nonprofits. And I saw as a practitioner, the dire need for funding for professional development. And that is something that gets compromised as the first item from operational budgets, and even in large institutions as new trends like stem, and you know, 3d printing, and all these are evolving, the current staff may not have those skills. And I have seen, you know, museum staff patching up and trying to be, but not really having the thing. And this was something I like to be bold, and this was 2016, when it was being proposed that I MLS along with NIH and any, we're going to be eliminated. I, I'm a one pager person, I said, we have to, rather than wait for new monies to come, we have Museums for America, can we take a portion of that and dedicate it to a professional development program. And what I did is like, you know, I one piece or person laid out the what that would do, and went up to our grants management and our general counsel who keep you know, check off how it can be done. And within like three or four months, the Office of Management Budget, approved, you know, this museums empowered program. And it's a program that is focused on professional development, not just for like attending conferences, or doing a workshop or bringing a consultant, it is, again, chunker ties into four categories, which is digital technology, Diversity, and Inclusion, evaluation and organization management. So if you're really thinking of changing the culture in your organization, and lo Behold, the first year, we launched this, you know, the number of applications that came in. And what we are funding is so gratifying because, you know, it's really substantive, cross cutting, systemic change that the institutions are asking the money for. And this is the fourth year now that, you know, we are funding this, and we have been able to give 3000 $3 million from MFA into this. And then last year, we launched inspire grants for small museums, because we were finding, you know, you go to conferences, and small museums say, oh, IMLS is not for us. And we say, oh, no, it is for you, oh, it's too overwhelming. So we created this program, which is specifically for small museums, it's only up to $50,000, which as you know, is actually quite a quite a good amount of change. And we simplified the process. And the small museums do not have to come up with a match, which is a huge thing, which is a huge difference. You know, so again, over 200 applications the first year, and so you know, these are the changes. And in addition to the discretionary grants, where you all apply for if IMLS finds that there is a sector wide need that is not being met by the projects that we are funding, then we take the initiative to launch a cooperative agreement where we seek cooperators or experts or an institution that is doing some significant work. And so for example, map is a cooperative agreement we have had with the American Alliance of Museums, for the longest time cap collections assessment program, we have the accessibility program called museums for all with the Children's Museum Association, and sort of the list goes on. And this is also an area where you might not know that IMLS can actually accept monies from other federal agencies, we got $1.9 million from the Department of Education to scale up a stem and making. I know the year that I had joined. You know, as a board member, I knew that it got funded one year, and the second year, you know, they said, Oh, we didn't get the funding. And I'm like, How can that be? You know, we just started this pilot. So we made the case, again, we not only got the second round of money, which was $750,000. I always believe in Hey, ask. If they don't give, they'll tell you no. And I told the Department of Ed, if you really want IMLS and the museum's to make an, you know, a big impact. We need more monies and they said, How much do you need? And I said double of what we got, and they gave us 1.9 million, and now it's expanding to eight states, all across the nation. So that's just an example of that.

Unknown Speaker 09:45
So the synthesized insights from IMLS funded digital projects. So like I mentioned, when I came on board, we wanted to know what IMLS is funding, right? Every year we get these 900 Plus grants, and I'm big I'm a big believer in data based decision making. So my staff now know if Paul is asking for internal scan and data, oh, there it comes again. But it's really helpful for us. So we did an internal scan of anything digital that IMLS has funded in the last five years across all our programs, right, across all the programs that I talked about. And here are some of the insights in terms of discipline. And this might not be a surprise for all of you. art museums, followed by history museums have received the highest number of grants for digital projects. The second thing is, in terms of types of projects, the majority of the funded digital projects are for traditional digital asset management program, we are digitizing X number of objects, which is very important, but bulk, more than 65% of the 400 projects are collections management, you know, kind of program, some are for educational technology, and some are, you know, combination. So again, this really gave us an insight of where the gaps are, you know, and where the field is moving. Thankfully, you know, because we are museums and libraries, we also get to see what libraries are doing and what museums are not catching up on. So again, being a funding agency, we have the power of the knowledge that you know, we can provide. The other you know, finding was that the projects are less focused on use and deployment of the digital assets, especially in collections based organizations. The only way they you know, they say it's done is if they, you know, they find out that it oh, we put it on website, and it's available for anyone but really not productizing it or you know, doing it. And then the last is in terms of size of museums, small and medium institutions are significantly lagging behind. So some of the other broad takeaways on current gaps is lack of or minimal number of projects. And please note that I'm providing you this information from the lens of IMLS funded projects does not mean that this is not happening elsewhere. There are very few projects that are focusing on building sector wide networks, common platform or cross cutting or adopt adaptable tools. They there are very few projects that are based on collaborations within the museum sector. Actually, at this conference, I was pretty happy to see some good examples. But still, the museum sector is not engaging in partnership in a cross sector manner. museums and libraries, museums and others, it's still not happening at the scale that we would want. There is really a lack of research studies and data that can shed light on the state of digital affairs. Now people might say that's too big of a of a research project, then why can't we have research in certain segments, you know, it can be divvied up rather than trying to take the whole, there is very few projects that support mentorship for small institutions who are lagging behind. This just goes on and on and on unless we do something very few projects that are focusing on professional development or network opportunities for small and mid sized institutions who cannot attend the existing conferences. And you know, I won't say further, I think you all know what I mean, some ambiguity on who's doing OER open education resources, there's a big movement, you know, going on, you know, we are doing online education, but we are not using the nomenclature of OER. And then, last but not the least minimal use of evolving technologies, such as crowdsourcing MOOCs, use of big data, you know, it's our field and the sector of what we are funding is very, very traditional. And technology is something which is moving at fast pace, but we are still doing some things very, you know, so what did we do? So like I said, you know, apart from giving grants, we listen, we reflect, we amplify, we coalesce, we guide and we try to catalyze. So what has IMLS done in the recent years, just in last four years, to address the gap and opportunities in the realm of everything digital, right. So we launched, we refocused OMS funding opportunities by launching this new grant program called museums empowered in 2017. And that has an explicit subcategory of funding for training museum staff in digital technology. We increase the cap of funding from this for this program 450,000 to 250,000, because we wanted the projects to be substantive,

Unknown Speaker 14:39
specific language. I'm not going to go through all of this because this is all in our Notice of Funding Opportunities. But what we find is when IMLS makes these changes, I've written bulk of all this new language that's in the nofas people sometimes just miss what MLS is looking for. Digital technology projects may include, but are not limited to effective and efficient users of technology, fellowships internships and mentoring programs to attract and retain tech savvy workforce and cross train, museum staff develop strategies for enhancing staff capacity to use. So you know, all of these examples of what IMLS is looking for is in the novel. And I know that it's an 80 page document, and oftentimes people miss out. But from our end, we are encouraging you to focus in on these needs to actually increase your chances of getting the funding because we get 900 applications only 1/3 gets funded, changes in the national leadership grant for museums. I know when I joined, I said, How is NLG different than MFA, they had the same three categories, collections learning community, and the types of projects that we would fund three to 400 would almost look exactly the same. Now NLG has been totally revamped, along with our five subcategories, but one explicitly focused on digital platforms and applications again, broad, and then we increased the cap for NLG, from 500k to a million. Again, nudging the field to dream big, come up with substantive projects. And again, it's very rewarding to see, we used to almost get zero digital applications under NLG. And now that whole thing is finally changing. Of course, the highest numbers are still for diversity and inclusion. So again, I'm not going to go into details because of you know, time, but very specifically, if it's an NLG grant, what are we looking for shared system, open source technologies, tools and technologies that enable people of all backgrounds and abilities to discover the museum's collection, new digital learning resources, new media communication tools, you know, emerging educational trends, such as open education, resources, blended, and flipped classroom, all of this is all you know, in there. So three quick examples of National Leadership Grants, we launched a big project called museums for digital learning, we actually did a session yesterday with a full house. This is basically has been brought in together three large institutions, new fields, are the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Field Museum in history, Colorado, with the hope of building one shared platform, where museums can contribute their digital assets and learning resources as a one stop shop. And again, this is to the the audience is K through 12. But the focus is to build the capacity of the museums sector, if it's small and medium sized museums who do not are not doing it, we can always leave them behind. Or we can at least try to, you know, raise the bar. So this is really exciting for us. And then we just funded this year, Games for Change, which is really introducing, this project is going to teach the education staff of museums in five cities, gaming techniques of how to develop sets of professional development, where games for changes, or as a nonprofit organization, will go and train and teach. And it's a pilot, we funded Lawrence Hall of Science, on a big research on augmented reality, and how families are, are interacting with. And these are pretty large, you know, this one, if I'm not wrong, it's close to an $800,000 project. But this research is going to really help the field. You know, rather than just experimenting with augmented reality, what is really the impact of who you're trying to engage. And last, but not the least, your story, our story for the East Tenement Museum, fascinating project, small museum, you know, taking this big project of crowdsourcing, you know, content on immigration stories from scholars and curators and the public. And it's, it's fascinating, you know, they were supposed to be here, but they couldn't make it. So, just to give you an example of the gaps, how we have moved it, and what we are starting to see. And iro

Unknown Speaker 19:19
Games for Change is the organization right? And they were already working with a couple of cities and we said how can this be, you know, replicate an expanded and they came back with a proposal and you know, got really good rating. So I will turn it over. I'm sure I've gone over my time, but there was a lot to pack, but I will turn it over to Jessica.

Unknown Speaker 19:42
Okay, I think I'm gonna speak without the microphone. pretty loud voice let me know if you can't hear me. This is working great. So I'm going to talk about a two year IMLS museums and powered grant that mingei international museum we actually just completed The grant cycle, the work goes on forever. We are not done. But the grant cycle just ended about a month ago. And I included just some language on this slide from an initial report that the Balboa Park online collaborative, many of you might know niccone said in bpssc, we had engaged them to do an initial assessment of how we were and weren't using digital platforms and tools, and what our workflow looks like internally and where we might find some room for improvement. And you'll see in this quote, which I think we put directly into the grant application, there was some room for improvement. So we we proceeded with a, and asked for a digital transformation grant from museums empowered. So just quickly, for those of you in the room who don't know anything about our museum, who was among gay, what does it mean gay men gay International Museum, just to get a sense of our size. We're located here in San Diego in Balboa Park or museum of folk art, craft and design. I've added a few objects from our collection onto some of these slides so you can get a chance of of what we're about and, and what we show, we have about a $4 million annual operating budget about 45 staff full and part time, about 110,000 visitors a year caveat, none of that's true right now, because we are closed to the public for a major renovation. So our staff is a little bit smaller, our operating budget is a little bit smaller. But this gives you an idea of you know, our size Museum, we're not a huge group. The project again, I lifted this language directly from the grant application so that you could all see what this is. The project was a digital transformation to align with what was our major transformation of our facility, which is ongoing. And you can see the slide says this project will work from the inside out. First, internally, building our staff capacity, our internal digital digital literacy and workflow and processes, really, in order to better serve our visitors and to reach a broader audience. oxygen mask theory, we first had to help ourselves so that we could be there for our audience. This is really, really important. Why did we do it? We were we were stressed, we were facing the closure of our museum for at least a year, shocker. It turns out, it's going to be over two years. And we were worried, you know, our digital platforms with the closure of our facility, our digital platforms, we're about to become the first the most important way that people would engage with us know, people know more people just discovering mingay, because they happen to be a tourist in Balboa Park, and they wandered into our facility, and they had to go looking for us, we had to be pushing out our information. And, you know, frankly, our digital platforms were not equipped for this. And we realized that our website needed to revamp our social media was challenging due to, you know, problems with our workflows and access to some of our digital content assets. And, you know, back to that quote from from the BPSC report on that very first slide. Our processes and workflows had evolved, you know, based on staffing and staffing limitations, technology work arounds, silos, individual preferences, all the things we deal with in our workplaces, right, and no one's to blame. It's just how things have evolved in happened. You've had a lot of people doing things one way for a long time. I don't know if any of you attended that session that several women from the Getty did about the mapping, mapping, the content flows, you know, had we done ours, it would have been filled with red dots, there are a lot of pain points. And again, Nick and ppoc helped elicit some of those and their initial assessment of what we were doing. You know, we were also rebranding, we were working on a new strategic plan, we were approaching this time of really significant institutional change. And we knew we had an opportunity. I would say most important we also on staff had one superhero thought leader who really pushed us and she's not here right now. But she did present yesterday on our website, Alexa, so Banyan, who really said, you know, I want to try to change the culture here. I really believe we can do this. And this was an example of someone really leading from the middle and pushing the rest of us to come along and get on board with her vision. And I think that's really significant. And I want to acknowledge that

Unknown Speaker 24:44
we were lucky to have that that kind of person in our midst. So how did we do it? So here's the formula at the top here we have our one superhero thought leader, we have one brilliant organizational Partner B POC. They were are really aligned with us throughout, we had a great funder and IMLS I mean, to be able to find funding for this kind of, you know, combination of professional development and the build out of technology infrastructure was so essential. And we had buy in and support from from management, it was going to take time to get buy in and support from everyone else on staff. This is ultimately a story of organizational change and culture change. But we had, you know, the people at the top of the organization, myself included, saying, we're gonna do this. Okay. So how did we do it? You know, again, it was we look at the steps, the assessment from the POC of our workflows really helped guide us. So we started off with our tools and our infrastructure. And, you know, Alexis could tell you more, she's probably floating around here somewhere after the session about how we leveraged some simple out of the box products. Google Drive, airtable, Slack. We also use craft as the CMS for our beautiful new website, and Stacy Edelstein, who designed that can tell you more about it, if you're curious, they presented on our website yesterday. But once we identified the tools that we knew we wanted to leverage and invest in, we also looked at how our human resources were deployed just as important. And, you know, here's a great example, one of the big challenges that we identified and in our workflow is a big pain point with access to images. You know, we have all these digital images, but photography, editing storage of images, it was just an absolute mess. We had all these different departments, who had money squirreled away to hire their own freelance photographers, for different projects, all of whom delivered their final product in different formats. And you know, they were being stored in different places, and no one can ever find what they needed. You know, and poor Alexis has had kind of tried to take down the project, but she became a bottleneck because it was just too much and it was unwieldy. And no one was invested in aligning around a common process. I think that, you know, there was also kind of this myth that we couldn't find one single photographer that we could hire, who could shoot objects, and gallery space, and people at parties and artists that work like this could never happen. But me decided to give it a shot, we pulled together a cross departmental, you know, team of people to review portfolios that were submitted for a part time position that we created. And we found that unicorn, his name is Ron, and he's now.

Unknown Speaker 27:48
And now all of our images are edited, they're categorized, they're saved in one place, they're accessible on the G Drive, everyone can get what they need. You know, we pooled all those freelance resources and little pockets of money that everyone had kind of secretly typed into their budget, to add someone to the staff who could can bring some unity. And just some ease to our work. We also partnered with Stacy's company, Reagan to build a new website. And again, I won't go into it too much, but I encourage you to take a look And we improved our workflow using air table as a single source of information on for a variety of things, you know, exhibition, scheduled program and event information and this content, these updates feed directly into our website, CMS craft. So we can update information in most cases in one place one time, anyone can do it. And we know we have a single source of truth. I don't know if this is a problem is that the single source of truth is always hard to get up when we're dealing with with information. Another great example of that, so our exhibition schedule used to be created and handed out in a Word document as a hardcopy, you know, like it all staff meetings, and God help you if you missed the meeting where the updated one was handed out, you were screwed. You were working from the wrong schedule, and you had no way of knowing. So you know, that's now in airtable, it gets automatically updated to the website, there is transparency and universal access to that information. This is such a small change, but such a meaningful one, it transformed the way we work together. We also created a new position for a content producer and Ashley who's in that role right now is here and you know, now that we have easily accessible images and program content, it's much much easier for Ashley to push out timely and relevant social posts eblasts website updates. Our public facing digital platforms are now much more robust and engaging because we have access to the timely calm intent to get on there. You know, we still have a long way to go. But we've we've come a long way. And we're seeing growth in our digital audience, and really much, much more audience in in real life. While we're closer than we anticipated going into this, we really are operating off site with exhibitions and programs and events in many, many different locations. And people are finding us they're figuring out where we are and how to get there. So that's great. When did this take place? So as I said, it was a two year project, the grant cycle just wrapped in September 2019. We began one year prior to the museum closure again, with that equipment and tools, the training and the capacity building on staff. You know, airtable, Slack, even using Google Drive, required a lot of staff training, which is ongoing. And you know, there was a lot of anxiety and many challenging aspects to getting people comfortable. And using those tools regularly. We're, we're mostly there with most people, which I consider to be a win. And we are measuring this, you know, with some surveys that we've been doing throughout to assess comfort and capacity and using some of these tools.

Unknown Speaker 31:20
It's worth noting, I think, so you can see in your to kind of going into streamlining our workflow, it's when we launched the new website starting to improve our email and social strategies. It's worth noting that at the end of year one, we had to move all 26,000 objects in our permanent collection out of the museum, and into an a warehouse about 10 miles away from the museum. And Alexis worked really closely with our collections and registration team, to leverage airtable to track inventory and barcode the entire collection mode, this was a daunting task, no one knew how to approach it, we used a brand new tool. And you know, with a lot of support from the team at airtable, we're able to make it work. I mean, this was really a game changer for us. And for airtable, who's turned it into a really nice case study that they've published. But really important. And this goes back to changing the culture, this was a huge win for the entire team. And once you know, the people who worked on the project, saw it come to life and be realized, and the rest of the staff started to see this happen to see a new digital tool deployed in such a successful, meaningful way. You know, I think we really built faith, we built trust, and we really increased the number of stakeholders who got on board with this digital transformation. It was, I think, a real, real important moment for the whole institution. So like, let me just see if I said everything I wanted to say there. I did, yeah. So what did we learn? Let me just anxiety is real. There was a lot of anxiety. You know, this, again, is a story primarily about people and our organizational culture and how people deal with and adapt to change. You know, I'm someone who loves change. But that's not true of everyone. And it's not wrong, to feel differently. We need to account for where everyone is on the spectrum of comfort. And this was part of our pre mid and post evaluation strategy there. And at the same time, we had to push forward, this really necessary evolution to the way that we work. You know, I mean, I sat in staff meetings early on, where I say, Oh, my God, Slack is just, I will never use it. It's like an endless text thread. I just can't No, are not doing it. Slack is no central, I would say all caps essential to the way we work together and communicate as a staff. And guess what everyone uses it. Everyone got on board. Once people realized they could upload photos of their dogs and their kids, they were all into it. And it's really made a big difference for us. You know, back to that exhibition calendar, it was a small change that made a big difference. Just bringing transparency to that getting out onto a live digital platform or to always be up to date and accurate. It made such a big difference. You know, none of us can do this work alone, or partners ppoc, radon, our friends at Air table, they were all fantastic partners, and we've learned so much from them. And it just made everything feel more doable to have a network of different perspectives and organizations and people to help us get the work done. You know, always good to reflect on what didn't work what we what we learned. People are people. We all myself included, are slow to change and in many ways and accept new realities, silos still exist, we're always going to be be dealing with that.

Unknown Speaker 35:06
But we also, again, I want to say made a lot of progress. And I think, you know, we had to, we have to aim high for the long haul and know that this is just it's iterative work, it can be slower, but we are moving the needle. I would also say that we really are still, I think, a little over reliant on our superhero and worker bee, who really needs a vacation. And that's something to be really mindful of, I think, and, you know, it was it was one of the reasons we wanted to do this work in the first place, right? You don't want to get in a situation where you're totally dependent on the one staff member who understands that one system or piece of technology is, and I think, again, you know, we're getting more and more people comfortable trained, you know, bringing forth their own ideas and vision for how we can leverage these platforms to improve but it's, it's slow going. And I still worry that we're a little over reliant. One last thing to add here, that we now also are institutionalizing the allocation of resources toward digital. And this is a really important shift, right or funding cycle has ended. We were we were so fortunate. But we need to institutionalize and prioritize that funding to continue investing in our digital platforms in our staff training, and in the next thing, so maybe we'll be going into another another grant applications. So just you know, thanks to everyone IMLS ppoc can always email Alexis and I, you have any questions and Stacy too. And that's it for me.

Unknown Speaker 36:45
Wendy has 10 minutes, because we want to hear from you too.

Unknown Speaker 36:48
Sorry. So quickly, our project opening up digital collections learning resources for middle school was a museum is a Museums for America Project. And I'll tell you, I'm not a digital person. And so for me coming to a digital solution is really because there's two opportunities at play. And one, as Paula mentioned, is there's a lot of digitization of collections already out there, whether it's IMLS funded, or the National Science Foundation is funding a gazillion things to I dig bio, you can see the list 121 million records, only 31 million of them have media, though, okay. And so even our own related research Museum has a lot of collections online. But if you look at that, that doesn't make sense to any of us in this room, like that is not actually a useful product. And so what I'm interested in is the idea that it's open to the public. But it's not really useful. And so I feel like there is this opportunity to figure out how to make it useful for teachers, and students in middle school. The second opportunity that came from this is that we have been doing teacher workshops with the collections with middle school teachers. And in particular, this is a workshop that was part of something larger were the activity they're doing is, is it a snake? How many science people are here? Okay, so most of you may not realize that there are all these things that look like snakes, they're long and skinny without legs, but they do have bones inside them. But they're not snakes. And so for us, this activity is kind of a classic Middle School sort of thing, where they're collecting evidence through the idea of observations, using that evidence to make a claim and showing their reasoning about why what they have in front of them as a snake or not a snake. And this was great, and we had a good time with it. But as you can imagine, because these teachers are here pulling stuff out of collections, that's not very reproducible. It's not something we can actually invite middle schoolers in to go down into the collections and do this. So for me, this is why a digital solution needs sets. So we have four activities in development. And each of them kind of use digital in a slightly different way. And that's important for me, because I kind of want to play around with how to make that all work. So the first project is Is it a snake? So for the digital version of this, we're using images and 3d scans that you can twist around from collections for kids to do that same claim evidence, reasoning, stuff that we had the teachers doing, but doing it all online, and in case you're curious, the thing on the right is in fact a snake. The one on the left is not a snake. It's a type of legless lizard. I can talk more about that but have a connection. As the next activity is recalling the natural history of frogs. And so in that we've been 3d printing frogs and hand painting them, because you may not realize the wide variety of frog shapes that exist out there. And so again, this is a project we've done with teachers before. But in this case, it's about having these things actually out in the classroom, kids being able to look at it and make an argument about what type of habitat, a frog like this Lipson, and how is it that they survive. The third activity,

Unknown Speaker 40:41
deserting environmental change through herbarium specimens has a little bit of work. But it's based on research that a faculty member is doing because these herbarium sees plant based collections last hundreds of years. And so you can go back and look at both flowering time as well as insect damage and use that as a way to think about environmental change. And then the fourth and final one teeth, toes and temperature change in force evolution uses 3d printed fossils, I didn't bring any of them of horse teeth over the past 30 million years to kind of think about what features you see and can actually measure on the source teeth, to again, make that claim about what the habitat was like at that point in time, and how you can see environmental change based on this. This project, for me is interesting, because this is not our original project, this comes out of suddenly University of Florida, but we're adapting it down to middle school. And we're adding a layer with a graduate student who studies first evolution there is. So this is the whole project timeline. We're in phase one and phase two, were in phase one, we're developing these activities, were printing the frogs, we're thinking about how to do all those pieces along with the supporting videos. Almost concurrently, we have a group of five teachers who are working with us to make sure we're on the right path to make sure what we're doing roughly would work in their middle school classrooms. Because by the spring, we'll be running a set of four teacher workshops, hopefully with about 80 teachers in it, where we can train local teachers throughout the state to do these projects, because the third year is about implementation and evaluation and having these teachers to do it in their classroom. And our evaluators working with the teachers to see how it's going and what sort of final tweaks that we should do. Were in year one of year three. But so far, some of the lessons learned is that collaboration across many groups is hard. And it takes a lot of time and just the amount of time it takes to get more than one teacher in the room at one time. And how do we manage that? And can we Skype with these other teachers has sucked up way more times than I thought would be true. And personally, I really think a lot about balancing the access to the collections with how much of a framework for learning we're doing. So I love the 3d printed frogs. But the reality is, is that kids are not going into the collection to see this right. They're either borrowing a set from us or their teachers are pulling the files and printing them at their own school. And so as much as this is a real frog in the collection, kids may or may not realize that. Thanks. Many thanks to one of our educators who's doing most of the work on this as well as all the scientists and staff around us and our partner teachers and to IMLS. to fund this, I wanted to really quickly share about a minute of one of the videos. This is in our herpetology collection. So the Infibeam, Ian's and reptiles and our collection manager and you'll see one of our grad students very

Unknown Speaker 44:04
large number 3000. Beast. A lot of people look at this collection to say, well, you know, it's nice memories are stored in a warehouse, in fact, is not the collections are used by scientists, by undergraduates studying reptiles and amphibians by graduate students doing research in this area, and also professors and want to use it for a classroom. So it gets a tremendous amount of use, from what we call our books. One of the things that are really added to our natural physical essence is the fact that they're now available on the internet. You've got digital images that you can actually download.

Unknown Speaker 44:43
This is where he and I see it a little different.

Unknown Speaker 44:47
So you can see our questions and you can see the possibilities in terms of how you can use this to actually assist

Unknown Speaker 44:59
you Thank you IMLS. That's a slide that actually gives IMS. Good. All right. And that's what I'm turning it back. Okay, thank

Unknown Speaker 45:14
you so much. So you know, these insights, even for us, you know, after funding it, we put up a little blurb on the website that this is what they intend to do. So when we have sessions like these, even though the project is in progress, it really, you know, and like we were talking, sharing some of the failures that you're going through, so that others can learn from them and not repeat it. Right? Because that's, that's what it's all about. And, you know, fascinated to hear, you know, the two different projects. One is, that's the crux of museums and power, it is cross cutting, transformational change. It's not just one department utilizing the funding for something. And that was a fabulous example. By the way, I should know this, but how much was your grant?

Unknown Speaker 46:04
I should know that. I want to say it was 150.

Unknown Speaker 46:07
Yeah. And that was the maybe that year when you those cap was 150. But imagine, you know, what sort of transformational change it did to and at the time when you needed it. And we always hope to kickstart projects, and you're already working on the sustainability part of it. So that's, you know, makes it and, you know, fascinating project, again, where you're using the 3d technology, and you know, making some of these, you know, so interesting. And going back to the idea of co creation, your teachers are involved in all phases of it. That's what, that's where the shift, you know, really needs to happen. So we have 10 minutes, which is really good. Let's do this. Does anybody have like a burning question that they want to ask me are one of the promise that whoever is answering it is going to be brief? Okay.

Unknown Speaker 46:53
Yes, sir. My name is Michelle. I'm with the Museum of life and science in North Carolina. My question is, so I came originally from outside the museum industry. And so And from a kind of a sector that did digital work and innovation in a very iterative fashion, you know, starting with kind of like a hypothesis, and slowly developing something over time and learning from a contraction and etc. And so one of the things I've struggled with, is how to pursue that kind of structure. Or those sorts of nascent ideas, within within the structures of IMLS. And federal federal granting entities is I've been an IMLS reviewer announced several times, and as well as trying to, you know, try to write some grants, and you need to have everything thought through when to end and you need to de risk the entire operation for panelists to like it and like, so how do how does the world of digital where there are a lot of questions and a lot of risks, I'm not entirely sure what's going to pop out of the bag again, how does that fit with this world? And with both the big grant opportunities you that you've described, as well, as I know, you've seen like prototyping?

Unknown Speaker 48:10
It's within the national leadership. Yeah. So I'll try to I'll try to answer this as briefly as I can, of course, we can talk offline as well. We actually did six IMLS, regional workshops this fall in six different cities, and they were eight hour long. And we basically went through, you know, some of these in much more detail. So the quick answer to your question is, if you read the Notice of Funding Opportunities, even if you're, you know, the deadline is next week, right? So it will even if even if not for this year, there is a section where there's a blog, on stages of maturity, we are encouraging you all to define and talk about the risk. We talked about, is it an exploratory? Is it a pilot? Is it something you're taking from a cross sector model? And you're trying to experiment with it? Or is it something that you have tested? Like, you know, Wendy has tested this with, you know, the teachers? And is it scalable? Or it is, is it a scalar? Right. So I would encourage you to read that blog, because that really, again, hones in on what, and we definitely there's a, we have dialed up the focus on risk, and say, talk about the risk, but not just talking about the risks, but how do you intend to mitigate it? And that itself, you know, should be and we have tweaked the reviewer questions to say, this is what we're asking, and this is what you should be looking for. So, you know, it's very good question and I feel and I may be biased for analysts is that analysts, even though we don't get huge amount of funding, you know, IMLS encourages innovation, and testing out and if you're tested, you come back I can convince you, the reviewers. And remember, finally, my director and I make the final decisions. After everything comes on, we look for how it's going to really set a best practice example, Games for Change. They applied for the first time ever. And they were like, you know, traditional reviewers were like, oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no these, like, you know, if you're so critical, you really cannot encourage innovation. So that's, you know, sometimes we take we take that is,

Unknown Speaker 50:30
yes. First of all, gratulations. Within the grant, that you just drive seems like a miracle. And you had a really interesting takeaway that followed directly from the plenary this morning, you said that now we're starting to change the way we look at the budget to include more digital and I just wondered if quickly, you could just pull out one or two things that really switched something in the brain or made the nickel drop whatever analogy is, like, it's I think people were looking for that earlier today. And I just wondered if you could put some words on it?

Unknown Speaker 51:10
Yeah. I mean, I would say the first thing is to just develop a dependence, right, you know, we, we now can't imagine not working with these tools that have become so central to how we operate. And, you know, at a baseline level, we've got to continue to pay to use those and, you know, add new users to the annual agreement and all of that every year, right. So we've, we've, we've made people kind of dependent and integrated the use of things that now no one wants to go away. I think that in turn, builds more openness and trust to try the next thing. Right. And, and that's something really important, I think, you know, just continuing to make it a part of the discussion, I think that we really were conscious about, you know, every month and an all staff meeting, reporting on the project, talking reminding people oh, by the way, we're in this big, big IMLS funded digital transformation project. Remember, this one thing we just talked about, as part of that, that, you know, reminding people that that certain things are happening because of technology, technology become invisible? If it's working well, right. But I will now still will go back to you know, if something really great has happened, wow, we weren't able to do that before we had air table in place on the staff, you know, that, that kind of thing. So it's a part of it's just continuing to reinforce the importance of things and you need that senior leadership buy in to ensure it's getting into the budget.

Unknown Speaker 52:38
Okay, so I think we might have four minutes. But I don't know we have time, we don't have time, we just have four minutes. From what you heard today, you know, let's have a group discussion. Right? Some of us will take notes. Really, I do want to take back some note from the the needs that I sort of shared in terms of the bullets are there needs that you all feel the sector is facing or you as an institution is facing that I did not capture. And I know those were like broad stroke from synthesis, you know, of that. Anything that comes to your mind, both from an individual in a Museum's perspective, or from a sector perspective, that this is something which is needed, but it's not happening. And I know it's really difficult to do it in this short time, my email will be on the last slide. So you can send Yes. Please introduce yourself. I'm

Unknown Speaker 53:43
Matt, our light, Mitch, I'm a board member of American natural history. So a lot of my questions, and I'll email you later. I think it's about how an organization of our size could sort of like, benefit and work with you guys to do this stuff. And I really liked what you're starting to say, which is not as revolutionary more problem is like, you guys have some money, and you guys want to see change. And like, that doesn't always filter down because we're so huge that the development folks will pay attention to your changes on your website. They're not coming into my office and selling or what about this stuff, but like, they might be the same ideas that we're trying to get right now. So that's, so there's two that I guess the thing that I will be looking for is because when you do have external funds, you get outsized influence, and you can force things and one of the things that we force to be helpful is busting silos. So I you kind of hinted at, I think, but the way it was written, I was like, Oh, that looks great for like small and medium sized organizations to sort of build capacity better, but like, in our case, building the capacity really involves somehow chipping away at the silos. And you know, if I get a bluebird mine, like 3 million bucks, I can sort of slough across. But like, maybe there's a way that you can help us. All of us I should say, not just for most To start ossification of the silos. So anyway, so then I

Unknown Speaker 55:04
think that's something that I heard, even when we were doing the reasonable workshops that folks were saying, now, we have material to take back and talk to those folks to convince that this is what we have been talking about. And I think they will be more convinced if they hear that either less is interested in this, you know, so, again, the the challenges I face, I feel in like, conferences, you know, you get like 45 minutes or like 35 minutes to talk. And sometimes when you really want to have this kind of conversation, and it doesn't fit into the, the skeleton of you know, the program committee, what they're wanting, you really not having, and even at am and other conferences, like you have to define this is applied to education or collection, or whatever. But in the real world, change happens across those. And you know, I always have talked to Laura, love to say, I wish there were these, apart from the plenary, there are these sessions where it doesn't matter what department you're in, you know, everybody's talking about you know, that.

Unknown Speaker 56:05
Yes, yes. So,

Unknown Speaker 56:11
what my second question is, in terms of supposing you know, all of you here, and again, we didn't get a chance to really know which institutions you are with, if I give you a problem and say, hearing all the sector, why, you know, the, what can be like, let's, let's reduce it from three big ideas to one big idea, what can be a big collaborative idea where different institutions doesn't matter if you're a museum, or MCN, kind of an association, or, you know, some tech companies can come together and say, you know, by next year by FY 2020, we can actually come up with an IMO is proposing I'm saying, you know, doesn't have to be an endless proposal, which will really address this, because that's something that I'm always interested in, is takeaways. And we've seen this work, we convened museum studies programs in 2016, big aha thing was many of the universities didn't know that they could apply to analysts, and then the number from the synthesis of that whole day convening. Like, if there are five points that came up next year, and the year after the year, after we are seeing applications addressing those issues. So that's that's the kind of thing you know, it's like, what is your call to action.

Unknown Speaker 57:35
And one thing I just was thinking, some of your earlier comments, you know, the museum sector is in this, like, strange place of scale, where a lot of vendors don't really care what we want, if we can use something that's already created, like my boss, or whatever, like, then great, but like, we don't really wield enough power or dollars, to really move the technology in my direction. And that's why many of us end up recreating wheels, you know, to everywhere. And I would say that your comment about museums and libraries together, would increase our scale enormously, you know, if there were like, I noticed, you know, libraries are actually getting much more into kind of the museum space, separate from technology we did like making, you know, makerspaces, and they're having collections on display, and they're more of a community center. And even like, we heard from Playwrights Horizons yesterday, like, even some other adjacent organizations are thinking about using digital in ways that we think about immersion and collection experience. And I feel like the digital realm of what we want to do with our audiences is actually really similar. And if there was any way for that joint to come together and make AR kind of, like, just as one example, I think we should all do ar but like, if it just made that more accessible for us to understand some kind of simple layer, right, works for museums and libraries and performing arts like the third space. Yeah, I think that someone like your organization could really make that happen. Yeah. Does that make sense to you?

Unknown Speaker 59:23
Yeah, I just want to sort of like, focus it really, really down to what Claire did two years ago now. Last Congress, which was to take a complicated and obnoxious prop, you know, concept, indoor positioning, and then pull people together from across wherever, and sit them in a room for a day and a half and say, This is what we're gonna come up with, we should do one you should do 12, maybe in partnership with MCN. Today, this month, it's AR and next month is whatever

Unknown Speaker 59:51
but like it's a big problem. And you know, you bring across

Unknown Speaker 59:54
the silos and so I'm not getting the people in the room to just focus on that one problem

Unknown Speaker 59:58
and disseminating information, which is clarity and really good.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:03
And that's something that I'm really again, there's not there's never enough time. And thank you all for being here. We just launched multi year data analysis project. And I'll tell you, you know, David goes back to what you're talking about dissemination. So I'm list keeps funding all these wonderful projects, you know, we feature them at conferences, you all submit your reports, the reports get checked, there's a compliance, they get filed away, the products that come out, get filed away, right. So two years ago, I said, Guys, we have to find out what we are funding to tell better stories to Congress to every one of what analysts funding is doing. My staff said, that's like too much, again, chunker, dies, 12 of them into six portfolio groups, digital technology, collections learning, you know, all six, six, because we find that it's really easy and defined a timeline 2014 to 18, five years, each of the dual, you know, the groups grouped the awarded funds into these six, there are 1200 records. Now we have hired a contractor who's going to take the 1200 records of in an in next 12 months, is going to synthesize findings, both quantitative and qualitative data and 10 case studies for each team. And then as part of the project 250 reports completed reports have been pulled together. So there are X number of products that have come out of each. And eventually the hope will be what we have funded will be put up on the website. So that number one people are not reinventing the wheel. And the second thing is, you know, you can actually do more. So it's a mega project. You know, we just hired the contractor and it's it's going to in a year, you know, right now it's good. Okay, sorry. We shouldn't be out of this place very soon. Thank you.