This year the foundation will pursue 3 grants from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), two of which focus on museum collection cataloging and one focused on an exhibit.
NEH - Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grant
(Digital Infrastructure) – The foundation will pursue this grant in support of the museum’s efforts to modernize the existing collections software and create a best-practices method of cataloging artifacts; as well as the development of a training manual to ensure complete and consistent cataloging by volunteers and others involved in this important task. The goal is to make our unique collection more readily accessible, searchable, and available to the public and researchers.
NEH - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grant
Alongside the above effort to modernize and complete the cataloging of the museum’s artifacts, this grant (if awarded) would allow the artifacts to be photographed and digitized for addition to the collection database and other innovative promotional uses.
NEH – Public Humanities Projects Grant
Public Humanities Projects supports projects in three categories (Exhibitions, Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions). The foundation will pursue a grant with the goal of rehabilitating the Sierra Railway Exhibit, and making it an interactive exhibit. This will require a complete replacement of the track and rewiring of the exhibit, but it is an important piece of our local history and we’ve already gotten a lot of guidance from a number of model train enthusiasts.
The model located at the back of the Museum’s Mining and Ranching Building (aka the Pole Barn) replicates the unique switchback design which was required to descend some 700 feet in elevation from Jamestown to Melones and then back up to Angels Camp. The daily passenger train ran from September 10th, 1902 until March 1939 significantly shortening the travel time between these towns. When the last train traveled the route, the crew picked up the tracks behind it.