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ERIC Number: ED543074
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 335
Abstractor: ERIC
Supporting Museums--Serving Communities: An Evaluation of the Museums for America Program. Full Report
Apley, Alice; Frankel, Susan; Goldman, Elizabeth; Streitburger, Kim
Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's museums. Museums for America (MFA) is the largest IMLS grant program for museums; it supports institutions by investing in high-priority, high-value activities that are clearly linked to the institution's strategic plan and enhance its value to its community. MFA grants situate projects within a framework of meeting three strategic goals: engaging communities, building institutional capacity and collections stewardship. In 2009, IMLS contracted with RMC Research Corporation to assess the impact of the MFA grant program. IMLS was interested in learning about the effectiveness of its application process, the kinds of innovation and creativity the program supports, and the value of the grant in enriching a museum's community and advancing its mission. The essential questions IMLS wanted answered were: (1) What is the impact of funding on the capacity building (training, policy implementation, or institutional management) of museum grantees?; (2) What degree of success have grantees had in growing or building their capacity to serve communities?; (3) What impact is there on the communities served by the funded programs (i.e., the outcomes of education and exhibition programming)?; (4) To what degree have museum grantees developed, sustained, or expanded their collections stewardship of cultural heritage?; (5) What degree of success have museum grantees had in achieving their strategic goals as a result of funding?; and (6) How have programs been sustained after the grant period ended? RMC Research Corporation conducted a mixed methods evaluation of the MFA program as of 2010 including MFA administrative data review, and data collection through surveys, telephone interviews and site visits. In cooperation with IMLS, RMC developed an online survey that gathered information from MFA grantees and unfunded applicants. Questions investigated grantee activities, audiences, partnerships, and immediate effects. A smaller pool of grant awardees with completed projects was also asked about longer-term effects of the MFA grant, referred to here as post-grant effects. The analytic characteristics of museum discipline grouping, museum size, and regional location of the museum were examined to identify patterns or trends in how museums perceive the application process. In addition, the analysis examined potential differences in a museum's overall experience in applying to the MFA program, a museum's history of receiving MFA project grants, and when an application was submitted. Appended are: (1) Methodology; (2) MFA Grant Program Requests and Funded Amounts; (3) Evaluation Protocols; (4) Data Tables; and (5) Alphabetic List of Museums Participating in the Evaluation. Individual sections contain footnotes. (Contains 84 exhibits and 93 tables.) [For "Supporting Museums--Serving Communities: An Evaluation of the Museums for America Program. Executive Summary," see ED543073.]
Institute of Museum and Library Services. 1800 M Street NW 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Tel: 202-653-4657; Fax: 202-653-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute of Museum and Library Services