KU Libraries, Spencer Museum of Art receive Mellon Foundation grant for conservation efforts

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to the University of Kansas to support collaboration between KU Libraries and the Spencer Museum of Art to conserve valuable cultural materials housed at the university.

Along with supplemental funding from the libraries and Spencer Museum, and support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the grant will support a new, limited-term associate conservator.

“This generous grant from the Mellon Foundation offers unique opportunities to the University of Kansas,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of libraries. “It will advance our work in preserving our cultural heritage, which is vital.”

Additional funding from the Office of the Provost will help to support the creation of a state-of-the-art conservation lab at Kenneth Spencer Research Library. New equipment and supplies for the lab will be purchased using the grant funding.

“The University of Kansas is a statewide leader in the professional conservation of historic materials,” said Neeli Bendapudi, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas. “This investment recognizes the vital role KU plays in preserving documents and artistic works for Kansans now and generations long into the future.”

“Past Mellon grants have been transformative for the Spencer Museum, and this one comes at a particularly important time when both museums and libraries need to be considering collections with a commitment toward a more inclusive definition and conservation of historical materials,” said Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art. “The Spencer Museum and KU Libraries have always been partners, but this offers us a new opportunity for collaboration.”

The grant is to be used over the next four years and will be key in advancing the priorities of KU Libraries, specifically in the area of enhancing the utility of the libraries’ distinctive resources.

“The most exciting aspect of the grant work over the next few years is the partnerships that will be strengthened among the libraries, Spencer Museum of Art and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as we endeavor to bring the work of cultural conservation to a wider and more diverse audience,” said Smith.

To learn more about the Spencer Museum, please contact Elizabeth Kanost, communications manager, at elizacat@ku.edu or 785-864-0142. For more information about KU Libraries, please contact Leah Hallstrom, communications specialist, at leahnel@ku.edu or 785-864-3103.


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