Submitted on Monday, 8/15/2011, at 4:38 PM
Photographer David Dashiell arranges a print for digitization at the Mead Art Museum.

AMHERST, Mass. — The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College has received a $148,256 Museums for America Program Grant from The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to create digital images of more than 10,000 objects in its collection, including prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and silver.

The Mead is one of 15 museums in Massachusetts to receive this prestigious award, and one of 160 institutions nationally, from a pool of 481 applicants. In announcing the awards, IMLS Director Susan Hildreth offered her congratulations to the Museums for America grantees. Hildreth noted, “We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high-value activities that benefit communities throughout the U.S. These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come.”

The IMLS grant will allow the Mead to meet the first goal articulated in the museum’s strategic plan: to digitize its entire 16,000-object art collection, and in this way, to aid in the fulfillment of its mission to make the collection available to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of Amherst College and to visitors from around the world

The grant will also allow the Mead to build on its notable recent progress in its efforts to digitize the collection. Currently, 37 percent of the museum’s collection is illustrated in a searchable public database at By the completion of the project,100 percent of the collection will be illustrated.

“The results of the IMLS grant promise to be transformative,” said Elizabeth Barker, the Mead’s director and chief curator. “With the entire collection available for browsing online, college faculty members and high school educators will find it simpler to select relevant objects for teaching, scholars from beyond our region will be better able to assess the utility of a research visit, and community members will gain a greater appreciation of the Mead’s marvelously various and fine-quality holdings.” The grant-funded digitization project is scheduled to begin immediately and continue for 18 months.

A complete schedule of the museum’s exhibitions and events is posted on the Mead’s website: The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s website,, or call 413/542-2335.