The Stowe Center is pleased to be honored with a $150,000 Museums for America award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to plan and design a new, audience-driven experience in the Stowe House. Read more about it: http://1.usa.gov/1udUGGp
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
Awarded $150,000 Grant by Institute of Museum and Library Services
Competitive Federal Award Will Fund Stowe House Tour Redesign
Hartford, CT -- Today, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a 2014 Museums for America award of $150,000 for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. This grant will support the creation of a compelling and thought-provoking museum experience to engage and inspire visitors to thought, dialogue and action.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s international best-selling anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) galvanized public sentiment and attitudes about slavery before the Civil War. The tour experience at the 1871 Harriet Beecher Stowe House, the principal exhibit at the Center and a National Historic Landmark, will be transformed to become a forum for 21st century civic engagement on contemporary social justice issues.
The Center has already interviewed hundreds of people: visitors, members, scholars, theater professionals, and museum professionals, as it plans to refresh Stowe House interior spaces in light of anticipated mechanical system upgrades.
Based on research to date, the Center is piloting new ways to engage and inspire visitors to the Stowe House. Rather than a lecture tour, visitors sit in Stowe’s front parlor to discuss slavery and other issues of Stowe’s time and their resonance today; hear the worldwide impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin through the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Laura Bush and Barack Obama; and sit at Stowe’s kitchen table recording ways they can create positive change.
“We are honored to receive this Museums for America award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” said Katherine Kane, Stowe Center executive director. “We’re tremendously excited to design a 21st century museum experience to engage and inspire visitors. We are continuing to test new ideas and hear what the public has to say about the experience.”
“Our grants are highly competitive,” noted IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. The Institute of Museum and Library Services enlists hundreds of library and museum professionals throughout the United States to review grant applications and make recommendations on projects most worthy of funding,” “Receiving a grant from IMLS is significant achievement, and we congratulate the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center for being among the 2014 IMLS museum grantees.”
IMLS museum grants support a wide variety of projects that create learning experiences, strengthen communities, care for collections and provide broad public access.
A complete list of museum recipients is available on the IMLS website at www.imls.gov/2014MuseumList. For information about IMLS museum grant programs, see: www.imls.gov/applicants/available_grants.aspx.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was the author of more than 30 books including her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The book was a runaway best seller, selling 10,000 copies in the United States in its first week; 300,000 in the first year; and in Great Britain, 1.5 million copies in one year. It set off an international outcry for abolishing slavery and was a building block to the Civil War.
The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center uses Stowe’s story to demonstrate how one person can make a difference and to inspire visitors from around the world to work for social justice and positive change. Stowe's Hartford home is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.