On Thursday, September 20, 2012, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was awarded a 2012 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the amount of $444,296. Funding through this highly competitive federal grant program will enable the Children’s Museum, in partnership with the New York Hall of Science, to conduct emergent research on family participation in museum-based “makerspaces,” places where people can create, explore and innovate through open-access to digital media resources and physical materials. The Children’s Museum’s own MAKESHOP, one of the country’s first in-museum makerspaces and a national model, will serve as one of the sites for this potentially transformative learning research.

This year the IMLS received 80 applications from museum’s requesting more than $17,376,990. Today the IMLS announced fifteen projects that will receive funding, totaling $3,447,740. Reviewers identified these proposals as examples of the types of highly innovative projects with broad potential impact for museums across the nation.

“We believe that each of these grants will advance the museum, library, and archive professions through new research and the creation and dissemination of innovative tools, models, and activities that can be shared broadly,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.

A 2009 IMLS National Medal award winner, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh launched MAKESHOP in 2011 in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out of School Environments to nurture and advance informal learning opportunities and a research-based understanding at the intersection of the digital and the physical. To conduct this timely makerspace research, the Children’s Museum will partner with academic researchers to design tools that recognize and measure productive patterns of family participation and their associated learning outcomes in these spaces. Results will benefit other family-oriented museums looking to provide space in which families can create together.

“This is really big news, stated Jane Werner, Executive Director of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, “as we are in a group of only fifteen museums who received this grant nationally. Further, this award reaffirms that Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a leader in the field for the research-based creation of museum makerspaces.”

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s MAKESHOP is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Click here for more information about the MAKESHOP makeshoppgh.wordpress.com/

#  # #

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 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit www.imls.gov.