News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

Palo Alto Art Center Foundation Receives IMLS Museums Empowered Grant
Three-Year Partnership between the Palo Alto Art Center and Junior Museum & Zoo to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Fiel
Contact : Ken Heiman, Marketing Coordinator    6506173511

PALO ALTO, CA– The Palo Alto Art Center today announced the receipt of a Museums Empowered grant totaling $237,168 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums.

The Palo Alto Art Center will partner with the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo to provide a ladder of engagement to involve diverse populations in meaningful museum work and volunteer experiences. The project will promote best diversity and inclusion practices through which youth and young adults learn about working in the museum field by participating in paid teen, undergraduate, and graduate museum initiatives. The project also advances a culture of inclusivity at the museum leadership and board level through targeted professional development and anti-bias training.

The project will also involve targeted K-12 engagement, through a variety of teen volunteer and leadership opportunities, and community partnerships that strengthen ties with regional organizations, school districts, and institutes of higher education. A community advisory committee will provide project guidance, and the project evaluator will write a white paper to disseminate to the museum field.

“I am over the moon,” said John Aikin, Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo Director. “This grant will help us establish engagement for diverse youth, and their presence in our institutions will enrich the museum experience for everyone.”

The lack of diversity in the museum field is well-documented. Recent studies found that while people of color comprise 38% of the US population, they represent only 9% of museum boards and 16% of the museum administrators, curators, conservators, and educators.[i] This project seeks to address this issue through a ladder of engagement that promotes opportunities for emerging professionals of diverse ethnicities and ability levels.

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities,” says IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other. IMLS is proud to support their work through our grantmaking as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

“Through its active and professional internship and volunteer program, the Palo Alto Art Center has been committed to mentoring a new generation of museum professionals. This grant allows us to expand and diversify this work, engaging a new generation of diverse young people in the museum field,” says Karen Kienzle, Art Center Director.

About the Palo Alto Art Center:
The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to discover art. See, make, and be inspired because everyone is anartist. Created by the community, for the community in 1971, the Palo Alto Art Center provides anaccessible and welcoming place to engage with art. We serve approximately 120,000 people every yearthrough a diverse range of programs.

The Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto is funded in part by grants from Silicon Valley Creates and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. The Palo Alto Art Center Foundation gratefully acknowledges support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yellow Chair Foundation, private donations, and members.

About the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo:
The Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto has an 84-year legacy of inspiring a passion for science, an appreciation for nature and a love of exploration. The JMZ experience can change children’s lives by introducing them to science and nature at a formative state. We provide enhanced experiences for children, from birth to middle school, offering direct access to nature and science through undirected plan and exploration.

The JMZ currently serves as a primary resource for science learning for 10 of 12 Palo Alto elementary schools and for six schools in the Ravenswood School District. By using a trained staff of science educators who provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, in-depth hands-on programs reach 18,000 students each year. Educators also travel to elementary classrooms in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, but primarily serve schools in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, providing core science classes that complement State mandated school curriculum.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services:
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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