Pratt Museum Announces $750,000 Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
Largest Grant in Museum’s History Will Invigorate Community and Transform Institution
HOMER, Alaska – The Pratt Museum announced today the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Pratt a Challenge Grant of $750,000. The award will help the Pratt make critical capital improvements over the coming years to better serve the Museum’s members, visitors, and the community at large.
“This vote of confidence in the Pratt from the nation’s leading humanities institution underscores the Museum’s commitment to meaningful community engagement and forward thinking,” said Diane Converse, Pratt Museum Director & CEO. “It will also help reinforce the Pratt’s role as a vital economic engine on the Kenai Peninsula for years to come.”
Grant funds will support ambitious capital improvements so the Pratt is better able to expand, preserve, interpret, and share with the public its collections in the history, cultures, and contemporary life of the Kachemak Bay region. The Museum’s collections — the only substantial collections in the region and a resource for students, researchers, writers, educators, and the general public — include archaeological materials that represent Kachemak Bay’s earliest inhabitants, historic photographs, oral histories, and community archives.
“We’ve been turning cartwheels at the Pratt,” Converse said. “This award provides incredible momentum as we embark on the lead gift phase of the largest capital campaign the Pratt has ever undertaken."
The Pratt was one of only 20 institutions across the country to receive such an award this year, out of 113 candidates. And the Pratt is the second museum in Alaska (after the Anchorage Museum) to receive a prestigious NEH Challenge Grant.
“The grants announced today highlight the broad spectrum of humanities projects funded by the Endowment,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “From small awards which enable institutions to better preserve and conserve their collections, to larger matching offers that assist organizations with capital improvements, NEH funding supports humanities scholarship and a variety of projects.”
The Challenge Grant must be matched three to one with non-federal dollars, which means that support from the state, individual donors, and other private sources will help the Pratt leverage these critical federal funds.
“The receipt of this highly competitive grant is a vote of confidence in our award- winning museum,” Representative Paul Seaton said. “It will make advocating for the museum expansion project to other potential donors that much easier. Congratulations to the Pratt staff and board, and to the community for their continued support in making the Pratt Museum a world class institution.”
Recipient of the National Award for Museum Service, the country’s highest honor for museums, the Pratt is one of only five nationally-accredited museums in Alaska. The Pratt’s mission is to help people explore the natural history and human experience in the Kachemak Bay region and beyond, and to ignite a connection between people and place through exhibits, programs, and collections. Each year, the Pratt serves more than 35,000 visitors and engages more than 4,000 students in education programs. The Museum creates about $1 million of annual economic activity in the region.