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Arnold Arboretum

Grant expands access to collections archives

Arnold Arboretum, September 13, 2010

The Arnold Arboretum was recently awarded a $145,000 grant from the Museums for America program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS-MFA) to support the curation of the living collection. Specifically, the 2-year grant enables the Arboretum to capture, steward, and improve access to three sets of archival living collections documentation. Upon completion of the project, the Arboretum will have a comprehensive database of every accessioned plant cultivated for the collection since its founding, as well as a GIS (geographic information system) referencing all historical planting locations since 1938.

Through the IMLS grant, the Arboretum will advance four intertwined initiatives:

“This project is a critical part of our long-range plan to improve the curation of the Living Collections,” says Michael Dosmann, Curator of Living Collections and principal investigator for the grant. “On a daily basis, my staff and I, as well as other members of the Arboretum community, are physically accessing these valuable archives. Completely integrating this information into our plant records database (BG-Base) and our GIS will greatly expand access and make our work more efficient, while helping to preserve our valuable archival objects by eliminating the need to physically handle them.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services provides federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. Grants are awarded pursuant with its mission to foster the work of libraries and museums to connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

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