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McCarl Coverlet Gallery Grant Will Develop History Program for Elementary Students

Public Relations
Posted: Monday Aug 15, 2011
The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Washington, D.C., has awarded a $14,649 grant to the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery at Saint Vincent College to develop a “Woven Into History” program for elementary students. The grant will assist gallery staff members in developing, marketing, implementing and evaluating a new history-based program, targeted toward students in grades one to six.

The gallery, which houses one of the largest collections of early American coverlets in the country, displays the 386-piece collection in a series of rotating exhibits. These exhibits interpret and preserve not only the coverlets, but the history of weaving and folk traditions in North America.

This new program will provide a gateway into the history of mid-19th century America for these students, curator Lauren Lamendola said. She added that the grant will enable the staff to develop interpretive, object-based lessons to help students discover the history of the coverlets and other American textiles and how this relates to their own lives.

“We are thrilled to be able to move forward with our goal of using the coverlet collection to teach students about history through creative, hands-on experiences,” she said. “The late Foster McCarl, who donated the collection to Saint Vincent, was adamant that the coverlets he spent a lifetime collecting be used to teach a new generation of children about history.”

The McCarl Gallery grant was among 160 projects selected to receive funding totaling more than $18 million. There were 481 applications to the IMLS, which is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

The coverlet collection was a gift to Saint Vincent College by Muriel and the late Foster McCarl of Beaver Falls. The coverlet gallery is housed in the Fred M. Rogers Center on the Latrobe campus. Visitors have come from throughout the world to view the collection, including His Royal Highness Prince Ludwig of Bavaria in 2009, and most recently, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

“Congratulations to the Museums for America grantees. We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high-value activities that benefit communities throughout the U.S. These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.