Denver Museum of Nature & Science Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Funds will support the move of 72,000 archaeological objects into recently opened Avenir Collections Center


DENVER – Oct. 27 – The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded $300,000 to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science as part of NEH’s Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program. The funds will support a three-year project to sustainably preserve 72,000 objects from the Museum’s archaeology collection, which features items from around the world – many with significance to our understanding of Colorado’s past – in its new, LEED-certified Avenir Collections Center.


“This NEH grant will allow us to bring our archaeology collections into the same space as our ethnology collections, providing better access to our objects for scholars, Native American tribes and other source communities, students, and the general public,” said Melissa Bechhoefer, manager of the anthropology collections and project co-director. “In addition to improved accessibility, rehousing these objects into the world-class Avenir Collections Center will preserve them in ideal conditions in perpetuity.”


“The archaeology collection includes artifacts from around the world and from important sites in this region, including Folsom, Dent, Lindenmeier, Jones-Miller, and Magic Mountain,” said Michele Koons, curator of archaeology and project co-director. “This collection helps us understand the cultures and people of the past  with astonishing time depth.”


The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant will fund two staff people to assist with reorganizing and rehousing the objects. Each of the 72,000 items will have catalogue data and reference images updated, and be rehoused in custom archival mounts


“NEH grants ensure that Americans around the country have the opportunity to engage with our shared cultural heritage,” said Jon Parrish Peede, acting chairman of the NEH. “From traveling exhibitions and teacher workshops to efforts to preserve local history, these projects demonstrate the power of the humanities to build connections, stimulate discovery and contribute to vibrant communities.”


Since 1992, the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Denver Museum of Nature & Science nearly $1 million. Past grants have supported the cataloging and preservation of digital images from the Museum’s archives and objects in the anthropology collections.


For more information, visit /science/integrative-collections/

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