The Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College has received a $250,000 grant to enhance its public programs. (Photo: Supplied by Earlham College and Susanna Tanner)

RICHMOND, Ind. — A $250,000 grant will help the Joseph Moore Museum enhance its public programs.

The museum on Earlham College’s campus will receive the three-year Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, according to an Earlham news release. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source for federal support of libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning and cultural and civic engagement.

Joseph Moore will utilize the grant to boost community education programs. The money will support more than 12,000 paid hours of experiential learning opportunities for Earlham students, a full-time lead museum educator and a part-time administrative assistant to coordinate the project. The training program for student tour guides will be a focus of the project.

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“This is a game-changing opportunity for our students and the visitors that the museum attracts to campus every year,” said Heather Lerner, an associated professor of biology and director of the Joseph Moore Museum. “The improvements we will undertake will improve learning outcomes for our visitors while also building the professional skills of our students. Continuous evaluation throughout the project will measure effectiveness in both aspects, allowing us to change tactics in real time to better meet the needs of our visitors and college students.”

Students working in the museum come from a variety of academic programs, with the current staff coming from 18 majors, the release said. Graduates move into careers at museums, zoos and aquariums such as exhibit designers, curators, animal handlers, program developers and administrators.

The grant will enable students to complete a National Association for Interpretation and become certified interpretive guides each of the next three years. The training was previously only offered in alternate years. Student training also will incorporate Reflecting on Practice, a professional learning program based on the science of learning in informal environments.

“Lady Ta’an,” the daughter of an Egyptian priest dating back to the period between 300 B.C. and 30 B.C., is on display in the Joseph Moore Museum at Earlham College. (Photo: Photo provided by Earlham College)

“We will now be able to better prepare our undergraduate educators to teach confidently and update our programs to be more learner-centered experiences using current best practices in informal education,” Lerner said.

Joseph Moore Museum offers more than 10 unique tours, scavenger hunts, escape games and other education programs. Many programs are free and open to the public.

Signature attractions in the museum are an Egyptian mummy, fossilized skeletons of a mastodon and giant beaver, specimens of extinct species and live reptiles and amphibians.

Visit for more information about the museum, which is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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