Lana Burgess, Jennifer Betsworth, Caitlin Mans, Caroline Vereen, Allison Marsh, Celia James, Katharine Klein, Shane Lesko, and Sarah Scripps were all present at the meeting.
We voted on a tagline and decided on “Making local stories national history.”
Jennifer has begun acquiring jpegs of her newspaper research. Allison has found a file cabinet for the external harddrive that will be stored in the computer lab. Jennifer agreed to store jpegs on the harddrive and keep a spreadsheet of newspaper headlines on digital dropbox.
In preparation for the IMLS-Museum Professionals Grant (due March 15), Lana discussed her experience as a reviewer of applications one year ago. She described how many of the projects were similar to ELE: multi-year, national (and in some cases international) in scope, included involvement of graduate or undergraduate students, and aligned with the long-term needs and goals of community-based institutions. Lana stated that of the 8 applications she reviewed, 6 received funding.
Of the projects that weren’t awarded, Lana stated that in general they were not well conceived. The timeline was too ambitious, the scope was not realistic, and the application left to many questions that couldn’t be answered.
Of the projects that were awarded, Lana stated that they presented an ambitious, multi-year project, provided realistic, long-term outcomes, and outlined 2-3 clear phases. She recommend that we offer a reasonable timeline and be as specific as possible with our intended goals. Lana also suggested that we consider partnering with other museum studies programs such as GW.
Allison asked Lana about the level of involvement McKissick staff would like to have with ELE. Lana responded that although McKissick may not be able to offer funds to the project, it is open to funding matches, donating staff time, and serving as the face of the application.
Lana asked about the level of involvement of local departments of education. She also recommended that we play up the fact that the modules are free and accessible to anyone online as well as the fact that our intended audiences are volunteer-based organizations with limited access to professional historians or large repositories.
Allison described the grant submitted over the summer to NEH. She stated that the emphasis was on in-person workshops with our beta test sites in order to refine the learning modules. Phase 1: (which we are currently in) involved conducting research and producing drafts of the modules and online exhibit. Phase 2: Focused on refining our work based on the feedback and meetings with our beta sites and Phase 3: Dissemination of our project. This timeline was intended to coincide with NMAH’s timeline for American Enterprise.
We then began evaluating Caitlin Man’s draft for the IMLS grant. Overall, the group felt that although it was a solid first draft, it lacked concreteness and clear outcomes. Lana offered to set up a meeting to review federal grants submitted by McKissick to for ideas regarding language and structure.
For the Organizational Profile section, Allison suggested focusing more on McKissick Museum as well as the Public History program, focusing on how ELE fulfills the missions of these partners. Lana offered to help write this section.
Allison will investigate how many PIs can serve on the application. She would like to include Lana and possibly Claire, Anjuli, and Peter as well. Allison agreed to secure partner statements.
Allison also wondered if we need to profile all organizations or just the main institution. Lana and Celia believe it is most likely just the main institution (ie, McKissick), but Allison will confirm with IMLS.
For the Narrative section, Allison suggested that the main text should clearly reflect the review criteria, emphasizing our target audience (museum professionals who lack digital skills), making comparisons to workshops by national associations (ie, how our modules are different/more accessible/reach different audiences). We also discussed a possible extended target audience of people who visit the online exhibits (possibly phase 4?).
For the Impact section, we agreed that we need come up with clear assessment tools and outcomes. While Allison tabled the discussion on assessment for a follow up meeting, she requested that everyone look at the Shaping Outcomes website (www.shapingoutcomes.org) to get familiarized with the language and style of outcome-based evaluation. Allison requested that all team members post a blog entry with suggestions for 1) Outcomes for the grant 2) Outcomes for the audience using the learning modules. The blog posts are due February 3.
For Project Design, Caitlin stated that we need to de-emphasize the project’s relationship with the Smithsonian while emphasizing our partnerships with other institutions. Allison suggested looking at 21st century skills as a way to highlight specific goals that tie to the review materials for the grant. We agreed to discuss assessment in greater depth at another time.
At the end of the meeting, we divided responsibilities and set deadlines (see below).
Everyone agreed to post potential outcomes to the blog by February 3 for both the grant as well as the audience using the learning modules
Caitlin and Caroline agreed to work on the second draft of the grant
Sarah and Celia agreed to edit subsequent drafts of the grant
Allison agreed to work on securing letters of support, creating a budget, and finding out how many PIs can be on the application
Lana agreed to draft an institutional profile of McKissick
February 3: Team members submit recommendations for outcomes on the blog
February 29: Submit grant to IMLS
TBD: Meeting to evaluate national grant applications with Lana and review revised draft of grant
March 15: Firm final deadline for IMLS
Sarah’s total time this past week (including reviewing grant drafts, attending meeting, and meeting minutes): 5 hours