October 12, 2016

Princeton University Art Museum Receives Major Grant

The Asian art collections at the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM) will be highlighted for search and discovery thanks to a $150,000 Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This IMLS grant will support the museum’s ongoing Collections Discovery Initiative and is designed to ensure that Princeton’s Asian art collections — widely considered among the premier collections of Asian art in the United States — can be shared with the broadest possible audiences, especially with scholars and researchers. The grant will allow the museum to enhance and standardize the cataloging of its Asian art holdings, develop rich educational materials, and restructure its award-winning Asian art microsite into an in-depth sustainable resource with an innovative new interface.

During the two-year grant period, from November 1, 2016, to October 31, 2018, the museum will make available on its website high-quality images and information for all of its Asian art objects — nearly 13,000 in total — and extended content, including exhibition histories, bibliography, interpretive content, curatorial descriptions, geo-referencing and subject tags, for over 1,500 prioritized works of art. Images and core data from the museum’s Asian art collections will also be made available digitally via other platforms, including the ARTstor Digital Library. The processes developed as part of this grant will establish a road map for curators for the future cataloguing of new acquisitions as well as for adding new research developed through collections installations, exhibitions, publications, and programs once the two-year grant period is complete.

“The generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is a critical element in enabling us to expand access to and promote the study of our collections, and particularly holdings as important as our Asian collections,” said James Steward, the Nancy A. Nasher-David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “Making every object in our care more accessible to all is an essential museum priority.”

PUAM began collecting Asian art in the 1880s, and its Asian art holdings are renowned worldwide for their range, rarity, and quality. Among the many highlights are Chinese paintings and calligraphy that rank among the finest outside Asia; Japanese Neolithic ceramics; and works from Korea, India, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia.

From 2010 to 2015 the museum conducted a collections-wide inventory, through which it created digital images for every object in its collections. In 2015 the museum launched its five-year Collections Discovery Initiative to create open access to the scholarly documentation of its collections through continued cataloging, conversion of data from analog to digital, publishing of linked open data, and the development of dynamic search and knowledge contribution tools.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov/ and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

PUAM is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.