About The Feed Their Imagination Grant
The Reading Public Museum is doing its part to help school groups come for a visit. Thanks to our generous donors, we are pleased to be able to offer funds to help students of all ages and backgrounds come to The Museum. Our Feed Their Imagination program has grown significantly over the past several years and we are looking forward to additional growth. With many schools having to eliminate field trips and other special programs due to budget cuts, this grant opportunity is more important than ever. Grants are available for all public, private, and parochial schools during designated times of the year. Opportunities for other groups are possible as well.
Facing 2020-2021 Challenges
2020 has proven to be a year when nothing seems to make much sense, and everything we thought we knew about our lives has been turned upside down. Things that used to be critical to our daily lives have been cast aside as we isolate ourselves, while things we used to take for granted have become critical to maintaining our sanity and livelihoods. At a time when we all have to stay home, steer clear of others, and focus on our individual health and safety, it can be easy to forget the needs of those outside our “daily bubble.”
The Reading Public Museum exists because we know that visiting cultural organizations helps transform young lives. While Dr. Levi Mengel, our founder, could never have foreseen a time when children would be actively discouraged from visiting The Museum, that is precisely where we find ourselves today. In 2011, we established the Feed Their Imagination fund to provide financially challenged school districts with the assistance needed to continue field trips to The Museum, the Neag Planetarium, and Arboretum, and although field trips are not currently allowed by most districts, we remain undaunted and committed to our mission.
Instead of utilizing Feed Their Imagination funds for traditional field trips, The Museum is offering virtual visits, led by our professional educators, to classrooms across our region during the pandemic. Whether meeting in person or online, teachers and their students can interact with our galleries and exhibitions through a combination of live tours, taped interactions, or hands-on activities with a classroom visit by an educator (when guidelines allow). Unfortunately, COVID-related expenses have depleted even the most robust district coffers, meaning that most classrooms now require financial assistance through the FTI program to pay for these experiences. As funding constraints on local area districts continue to worsen, many students will benefit from our collections only if their schools receive this much-needed financial assistance. More schools are expected to apply to the program than ever before, and we do not want to turn any away.
$500 – Funds a hands-on workshop for classes with a museum educator, and free passes to visit The Museum and Planetarium
for each student
$200 – Provides a classroom a week-long access to a “Traveling Trunk” with hands-on activities and specimens from our collection
$50 – Funds a live, 30-minute “virtual visit” for a classroom focused on various topics from our galleries like Arms & Armor, Ancient Civilizations, North American Indian, or Fine Art
All public, private, and parochial schools in any state are eligible to apply for a Feed Their Imagination Grant. There will be no appeals.
Wendy Koller, Manager of Humanities Education