CLEVELAND (May 1, 2013) — The Cleveland Museum of Art has been awarded a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will be used to endow the museum’s interpretation program. The program provides visitors a range of humanities-based interpretive tools to access and understand the works of art on view in the permanent collection and special exhibition galleries. The grant serves as an important catalyst for the establishment of the interpretation endowment and the funds will be matched 3:1 with the additional $1.5 million raised from other sources.
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is pleased to receive this important grant acknowledging the significant efforts we have initiated to re-imagine the interpretation of the museum’s world-renowned collection,” said David Franklin, Sarah S. and Alexander M. Cutler Director. “The field of interpretation is critical for art museums in making their collections relevant for today’s visitors.”
Through interpretive tools – text labels, audio and video segments, interactive technology and live gallery interpreters – visitors are empowered to reunite art objects with their original location, their context of daily life or ritual, their continuing work as evidence of human creativity and as transmitters of living cultural and artistic traditions. These tools can connect visitors with the varying interpretive perspectives on works of art and their cultural histories, allowing visitors to perceive that there is no single way to interpret or enjoy a work of art, or a period in history.
“The endowment will directly support the museum’s interpretation staff and the development of humanities-based interpretive materials that will make possible the refreshed gallery interpretation, program modification and technology updates that today’s visitors expect,” said Caroline Goeser, director of Education and Interpretation. “At CMA, we work to foster engaging connections between works of art and our intergenerational audiences.”
The museum’s interpretation program plays a critical role in animating the newly renovated and expanded building, scheduled for completion in December 2013. Most recently, the museum’s interpretation staff has been engaged in the unprecedented reinterpretation of all artworks in the reinstalled permanent collection galleries, the development of interpretive content for the new interactive learning space, Gallery One and ArtLens, the museum’s iPad app, in addition to the creation of in-gallery interpretation and programming for an expanded slate of special exhibitions.