(KCPW News) A federal grant program has awarded half a million dollars to the Utah Museum of Natural History as it prepares to move its vast collections to a new facility over the next few years. The Save America's Treasures program, a partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is granting UMNH the money to help transfer nearly one million artifacts in its anthropology collections and house them at the new building.
"They all have to be accounted for, they all have to be put into the database system, they have to be housed properly if they aren't already, and then they have to be packed into boxes and shipped over to the new facility," said Assistant Curator Michelle Knoll.
Knoll says most objects won't be too difficult to move, but the museum also has more than 2,000 vessels that are centuries old, which it will want to avoid damaging during the process.
Knoll says the museum had applied for a grant through the program in previous years, but was turned down. She says having firm plans and funding for the new museum building probably made the difference this time.
"We think one of the big pushes was that a commitment was finally made for the museum to be built, and that helped to push the urgency along, I think, for the granting agencies," said Knoll. "In today's economic times, you really never know what's going to happen, and though they did give us less than what we asked for, we're absolutely grateful for what we got."
Knoll anticipates the museum will be able to start moving objects in early 2011. It's looking for volunteers to help with the packing process. If you're interested in helping out, call Debbie Amundsen at 585-7767.