Fact Sheet: Alaska State Museum's Grant in Aid (GIA) Program
The Grant in Aid (GIA) Program for local museums is coordinated by the Alaska State Museum.
- Program began in 1981 with an appropriation of $50,000.
- Mandated by Alaska Statutes 14.57.010 (10) and regulated by Alaska Administrative Code 4. 58.200.
- Competitive grant funding available to over 80 local museums and tribal cultural centers.
- Three categories of funding:
- Regular grants for primary collections care and exhibit development up to $10,000;
- Mini-grants for projects and equipment purchases up to $2,000; and
- Internship program which brings a graduate-level museums studies student to the host museum to work on a particular project.
- GIA project funds are often matched 1:1, which creates a modest, but effective economic boost for the community.
- The Alaska State Museum has a statutory obligation to assist and advise in the development of local museums around the state. The GIA program is the main avenue for this assistance.
Examples of Impact of the GIA Program on Local Museums
There are many examples of GIA-funded museum projects in the state that have enhanced access to local history and cultural values. Three museums stand out as achieving particular milestones through participation in the three GIA programs:
- The Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak became the 2nd tribal museum in the nation and the 7th museum in Alaska to become nationally accredited. Since its founding in 1995, the Museum has successfully accomplished over 20 GIA funded projects, including a museum intern who readied their accreditation self-study for submittal. Other significant GIA funded projects through the regular grant program include several world class publications, exhibit development projects, and public programs. The Alutiiq Museum is now one of the foremost tribal museum in the country and the recipient of the 2000 National Medal of Museum Service awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The museum’s staff provide invaluable leadership and guidance to many other tribal museums and cultural centers in the state.
- The Port Alexander Museum, in Port Alexander AK, would arguably not exist had it not been for several GIA project grants in the mini-grant category that helped the Museum overcome key hurdles to open their doors. They were able to fund training in collection management software and upgrades to their collections storage room. This Museum is a much loved community asset that has now existed for almost 10 years in an isolated town with about 40 year-round residents. Their mission statement says it all:
Dedicated to the stewardship of the illustrious maritime heritage and history of Port Alexander and the surrounding area.
- The Pioneer Air Museum in Fairbanks opened its doors in 1992. Early on, they lacked the professional knowledge to properly catalog and accession their collection putting its legal ownership in question. It was not until 2011 that they started to professionalize through the effective use of the GIA internship program. Over the last five years, they were able to bring graduate level museum studies interns to their Museum to help catalog and accession their collection. Now they have the basis to establish ownership of their collections.
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