Williams College Museum of Art Awarded $180,000 in Grants from Kress and Luce Foundations

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., July 2, 2014—The Williams College Museum of Art has received grants totaling $180,000 in support of the museum’s strategic plan, led by Christina Olsen, the museum’s Class of 1956 Director. The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded the museum $150,000 to advance an extensive digitization project focused on the museum’s foundational American objects, and a $30,000 grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation will support a new interpretive fellow position. Both grants will help make the collection more accessible to the public while building on the museum’s legacy of training the next generation of museum leaders.

The grant from the Luce Foundation will allow the museum to digitize 2,200 American paintings, prints, and drawings toward an ultimate goal of a completely searchable online database to broaden the scholarly and public use of the collection.

“This two-year project presents an unprecedented opportunity for study and survey of the collection by the museum’s staff, as well as by graduate students in the Williams master’s in the history of art program,” said Olsen. “Immersing our students in this project will give them experience in cataloguing and research, effective record keeping, conducting condition surveys, and implementing conservation strategies.”

The Kress Foundation grant supports an interpretive fellow at the museum for the 2014-2015 academic year. “The Kress fellow will focus on how scholars and the public can browse, tag, and search the collection,” Olsen said. “The fellow will be an important part of our team as we work to deepen the collaboration and build the relationship between curatorial and engagement staff at the museum.

“Our collection is one of the most significant for a college or university art museum,” Olsen said. “Our recently completed strategic plan, Spark-Think-Make: Transforming the Museum, focuses on initiatives for the collection supported by these grants. We are delighted to have these valuable resources to help us do everything we can to increase the intellectual and creative use of our collection while building on our history of training future arts leaders.”


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.