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Grant number: GA-254153-16

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Cape Ann Historical Association (Gloucester, MA 01930-5909)
Martha Oaks (Project Director: August 2016 to present)

Fish for America 1840-1930: Gloucester's New Permanent Fisheries Exhibition

The project will focus on planning the redesign and reinstallation of the Museum’s permanent exhibition on Gloucester’s offshore fishing industry during the heyday of sail, 1840-1930. The overall goal is to craft an exhibition that moves beyond the mechanics of fishing to explore three broader humanities themes: (1) how physically challenging and often dangerous jobs were a gateway to a new life and new opportunities for immigrants from around the world; (2) how technological innovations impacted people’s work and natural resources; and (3) how the idea of a man’s struggles with nature have become part of our country’s cultural identity. Project participants will include Museum staff members, 7 outside humanities scholars and 4 professional consultants (architect, exhibit designer, exhibit media designer and an audience research/exhibit evaluator). The humanities scholars have expertise in the areas of social and economic history, immigration history, American art history, museum education and the digital humanities. Three of the four professional consultants have worked with the Museum before and understand our exhibition philosophies and goals. During the course of the planning project exhibit plans will be generated; narrative for exhibit text panels and labels will be drafted; and discussions with focus groups and museum visitors will take place determining audience expectations and testing prototypes as they become available. Also during the course of the project, Museum staff and planning members will visit other museums in the region to view and discuss exhibition strategies, exhibition related programming and audience engagement techniques. 

Project fields:

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Public Programs)

Public Programs

Total amounts:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 12/31/2017