MIT has received a total of $2.8 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts to continue funding the Museum Loan Network, a new program announced last October to promote collection sharing among American museums.
The MIT-based program was created to encourage and facilitate the long-term artwork borrowing and lending among museums to increase the public's access to a wealth of objects currently in storage. In its first year, the Network has awarded 33 grants totaling nearly $300,000.
In awarding matching amounts of $1.4 million each, the two donating organizations declared that the success of the program in its first year had exceeded their expectations. "The response from both borrowers and lenders has been enormously positive," said Penelope McPhee, vice president and chief program officer for the Knight Foundation. "At the close of the first year, we could not be more enthusiastic about the progress of the Museum Loan Network."
"The collaborative efforts of The Pew Charitable Trusts, Knight Foundation and MIT have proven successful in encouraging partnerships throughout the museum community," said Marian Godfrey, director of the Culture Program for The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Last year's loan of a Mark Rothko painting from the National Gallery of Art to the University of Missouri-Columbia is just one example of the range of institutions that are benefiting from this program."
One of the program's first grants will come to fruition on November 7, when three outdoor sculptures loaned from the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum will be unveiled at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, AL.
MIT was chosen as the host site for the Museum Loan Network because of its demonstrated commitment to the creative arts and its expertise in computing technology. "No organization could have been better suited than MIT to develop the computerized directory that is central to the matchmaking process of the Museum Loan Network," said Ms. McPhee.
"The three-year extension of the Museum Loan Network, with a budget of nearly $3 million, attests to our continuing standards of excellence and sense of responsibility in the arts," said Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody. "This is another step forward in the development of MIT's tradition of service, innovation and creativity for the artistic community within MIT, in Cambridge and Boston, and now in the nation at large."
The Museum Loan Network is administered through MIT's Office of the Arts. The next deadline for Network grant applications is November 15. For more information, call x2-1888.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 6, 1996.