Webb Museum of Anthropology Awarded Save America’s Treasures Grant

Photo of George Crothers in the Webb Museum of Anthropology
photo of an animal skull in the Webb Museum of Anthropology
Photo of George Crothers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 19, 2021) The Department of Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky has been awarded a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help preserve Kentucky’s cultural history.

The Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant, totaling more than $445,000, will be used to improve the environmental conditions of the approximately 10,000-square-foot collections storage area of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology.

The museum, located in the Anthropology Research Building on UK’s campus, houses a world-renowned archaeological collection from more than 250 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places — including Native American, Revolutionary War- and Civil War-era sites. 

“Our goal is to preserve these significant collections for future scholarly research,” George Crothers, director of the museum, said. “The funding will allow us to insulate the interior wall, complete roof framing and install a new HVAC system, which is needed for environmental control.”

Founded in 1931, the Webb Museum remains dedicated to enhancing knowledge about and preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage.

The archaeological collections provide a link to the roots of the Commonwealth and its people. Additionally, the immense research archives provide educational services, practical training and research opportunities for the campus community and beyond.

“The museum strives for excellence in archaeological fieldwork, analysis of these materials and preservation of cultural tradition,” Crothers explained. “Additionally, our faculty and staff experts are regularly consulted by government agencies, Native American tribes, nonprofit organizations and private citizens for guidance on the use and display of these treasured collections.”

In 1998, the SAT grant program was established to help preserve historic collections and properties. Last year alone, the National Park Service — in partnership with IMLS, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities — awarded more than $12 million in SAT grants to 42 conservation and preservation projects in 26 states. 

UK’s grant of $445,327 is the third largest awarded by IMLS, and the funding will be matched in equal amount by the university.

“The SAT grant is a major step forward in the long-term plans to renovate the museum’s research building and expand anthropological research at UK,” Crothers said. “We seek to create a world-class facility to match our world-renowned collections. Plans include renovating existing office and lab space and adding new exhibit space — allowing us to increase student participation in all aspects of museum research, collections management and heritage science.”

For additional information about the museum, please contact George Crothers.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services award ST-248587-OMS-20.

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