The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded more than $300,000 to two Pittsburgh museums.
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was able to snag $149,611, while the Carnegie Museum of Natural History received two grants, one for $25,000 and another for $147,462.
The Children’s Museum will use its grant to establish the “Making Experiences for Post-Foster Care Youth” program, which will expose at-risk youth aging out of the foster care system to activities such as circuitry, engineering and woodworking in an attempt to spark creativity and professional development.
Bill Schlageter, director of marketing for the Children’s Museum, said about 130 children in Allegheny County age out of the foster care system every year and about 75 percent decline additional foster services.
“What we’re trying to do within this partnership is provide, we think, a valuable kind of programming that would offer these young adults who have aged out of the foster care system, access to learning-rich, hands-on making experiences,” he said.
The three-year program will also include career workshops and the chance for paid internships within the Children’s Museum, which Schlageter said, could lead to employment opportunities.
“It opens these wonderful doors to curiosity, that take kids down that road toward becoming interested in acquiring skills that they never knew they had,” he said.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History will use one of its awards to create a secure storage area for its 462 specimen vertebrate paleontology collection, as well as update its collection data to prepare for a new management database.
The museum will also implement a design-based research initiative called “Seeing as a Scientist,” where researchers will test the effectiveness of gallery interventions at increasing scientific observation skills for family groups.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded more than 263 museum grants in 2014 totaling more than $30 million.