Tue. Jan 26th, 2021
WWI Museum gets .5M grant to strengthen religion, faith research



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 – Specials Editor, Kansas City Business Journal

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<p class="content__segment combx meterwall__content">A $2.5 million grant to the National WWI Museum and Memorial will allow it to hire an endowed curator for faith and religion, the museum announced Monday. </p>

Lilly Endowment Inc. gave the grant through its Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative, according to a release. The WWI Museum is one of 18 institutions to receive a grant from the initiative, which awarded a total of more than $43 million.  

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    <p class="content__segment combx meterwall__content">The grant will allow the museum to explore how World War I affected religion and faith. It will work to preserve related artifacts and make findings accessible to the public, in part through online exhibitions.  </p>

The grant will help the museum achieve three goals outlined in its strategic plan: Improve visitors’ experience; tell the stories of minorities, women and indigenous people who served in World War I; and make the collection accessible to a global audience.  

“We are thrilled to have the support of Lilly Endowment for this strategic initiative that fits within our Three Big Ideas,” WWI Museum CEO Matthew Naylor said in the release. “The endowed curatorial position and accompanying support will allow us to provide global leadership to this area of WWI research and add considerably to our understanding of the Great War and its enduring impact.” 

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his sons through gifts of stock in the family’s pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. The philanthropic organization remains a separate entity. 

The WWI Museum received a $655,000 donation earlier in December to aid in its digitization efforts. Staff members have been working on digitizing the museum’s collection since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Employees already have transcribed more than 13,000 letters and artifacts, and more than 2,000 object records have been digitized this year. 

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