FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) have awarded the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) significant grants to renovate and upgrade the Ethnology Gallery as part of a long-term strategy to enhance the significance and intellectual quality of anthropology exhibits.
The grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust totals $500,000. The NEH awarded the Museum a Challenge Grant of $122,524, one of just 16 matching grants awarded nationwide.
"We are excited to be receiving these major grants from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for the Humanities to address the renovation of one of our most significant galleries at the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Ethnology Gallery," MNA President and CEO Dr. Robert Breunig said. "This is the gallery at the museum that will give voice to the native peoples of our region, enable them to tell their stories more fully and completely, and bring our museum up to contemporary standards for display and the conservation of collections on exhibit. This project has been a long term dream of MNA staff."
An audience evaluation in 2010 payed for with funds from a Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust planning grant showed that learning about Native American cultures is one of the top reasons visitors come to the Museum of Northern Arizona.
The gallery's new exhibits will be rich in collections content and fresh interpretation, highlighting the on-going presence and vitality of native cultures across the region. Museum staff will work closely with tribes of the Colorado Plateau to ensure exhibits represent authentic voices. A technology overlay will shift the way content is presented from static and authoritative to interactive, conversational and dynamic.
"The use of new interactive technologies will enable us to enliven and enrich these presentations by exploring Native American worldviews and histories, with emphasis on human connections to the iconic landscapes of our region," Breunig said.
"This Museum was beloved by Nina, and it is a great pleasure to the Trust to support this key project," said Carol Peden Schilling, chair of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. "We are delighted in the Museum's growth and development over the past decade and look forward to seeing it continue its journey to excellence."
NEH Chairman William Adams said that "whether preserving important cultural artifacts or supporting new discoveries about our common past, NEH grants play a critical role in making the insights afforded by the humanities available to all to help us better understand ourselves, our culture and our society."
Planned renovations to the Ethnology Gallery include new floors, new HVAC and a new lighting system.
More information about the Museum of Northern Arizona is available at www.musnaz.org or (928) 774.5213.