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Help us measure the impact

Last update: July 24, 2020

In recent weeks, the Museum and Library Alliance pursued and was awarded a grant from the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium (LVEHC) to conduct a project to document the short term effects of COVID-19 on some Lehigh Valley cultural institutions. 


Representatives on behalf of the MLA-- Brittany Merriam and Jean Bemesderfer of the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society (NCHGS) and Susan Falciani Maldonado of Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College-- will launch and oversee an 18-month, longitudinal documentary of four Lehigh Valley cultural institutions. The project will document the short term impacts of COVID-19 on cultural organizations that vary in mission, admission, staff size, content of collections, geographic location, and demographic. These institutions may include museums, libraries, archives, and historical societies in the Lehigh Valley. 


Goals of the project


  1. Document and archive the personal journey of cultural organization workers and the effects of the crisis on their organization.

  2. Educate the public on the scale of cultural loss or gain during the pandemic (if applicable).

  3. Encourage sustained support of cultural organizations.

  4. Ignite discussion on reforming/establishing new crisis-management plans for institutions.

  5. Establish a digital archive and produce a documentary to be screened publicly. 


While the initial grant-funded project will delve deeply into the experience of four Lehigh Valley institutions, we hope that the information collected from our local institutions, and later follow-ups, will allow us to compile data that will inform future grant applications, as the impacts of this pandemic will continue to resonate for years into the future. 


So what does this project entail for the four institutions that are chosen this spring?


The investigators are interested in the impact of this crisis on the institution itself: staffing, fundraising, programming, collection maintenance, attendance, and more. But they are also interested in the human cost of the pandemic-- our cultural institutions are nothing without the people who invest their time, energy, and passion, often in a volunteer capacity. 


Additional Details

We are proud to announce the following organizations have been selected to participate in the documentary:

National Museum of Industrial History

Bethlehem Area Public Library

National Canal Museum

Moravian Historical Society

You are still encouraged to contribute to this project even if you are not associated with the organizations involved. Please e-mail us directly for more information.

This project is sponsored in part by the Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium, with generous support provided by a grant to Lafayette College from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The impact survey is now closed.

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