July 31, 2012, Osprey, FL:  The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has announced 152 awards of non-federal funds for Museums for America Program Grants totaling $18,113,376. IMLS received 470 applications. Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota County’s premiere historical, environmental, and archaeological museum, was awarded $148,692 to support a two and one-half year program, Engaging Seniors with Historic Spanish Point. The project is intended to increase community awareness of and visitation to the museum so that senior residents and tourists may be better connected to the region’s rich heritage.

Historic Spanish Point will implement Engaging Seniors through research and creative educational programming. Based on an assessment conducted by the National Center on Accessibility, the museum will develop on-site activities, including continuous-loop tram service, enhanced tram tours, hearing-assistive wireless broadcast tours, and large-print tour brochures, all designed to serve an older population that may be experiencing age-related limitations. Additional programs for independent living facilities, assisted living facilities, and community centers will be created and managed by a new Outreach and Program Coordinator who will devote full time to this worthy project.

“Congratulations to the Museums for America grantees,” said Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Susan Hildreth. “This year’s funded projects reflect the wide array of museum types in the country. In every case IMLS funds are supporting initiatives that advance an institution’s strategic plan for the benefit of the community it serves.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, it helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. Learn more at www.imls.gov.