The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) was awarded a $1.4 million grant through the Coronavirus Relief Fund Cultural Support (CRFCS) on September 23. The funding helps OMSI maintain operations and continue to deliver experiences and programs including providing essential worker child care, delivering safe summer classes, and supporting the education system during the transition to distance learning.
According to the Oregon Cultural Trust, “the State of Oregon allocated almost $26 million in CRF for Cultural Support and the grant awards will be distributed to 621 cultural organizations across Oregon through a partnership between the Oregon Cultural Trust and its County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions” (read the full announcement here).
We greatly appreciate this important support for cultural institutions throughout our community and for OMSI. OMSI has a long road to recovery ahead of us, and these funds will help ensure we can continue to provide high-quality science education programming at this critical time,” said Erin Graham, president and CEO of OMSI.
Fund allocations were based on the size of the organization - OMSI being one of the largest on the list of recipients - and consequently organizations that also saw some of the largest revenue losses.
Another aspect of the decision criteria centered on the ability of an organization to deliver community value during this time. OMSI has invested substantially in maintaining operations to continue to deliver experiences and programs in new and innovative ways.
"We continue to engage families, schools and community partners to evolve our programs and services. We are committed to using our resources to develop innovative programs to meet significant educational needs in our community,” said Graham.
When the museum closed its doors to the public in mid-March, staff quickly pivoted their focus and efforts. OMSI collaborated with Multnomah County to provide essential worker child care within weeks of the initial shutdown, and the education team continued delivering engaging science learning experiences to people but in a new format - in their own homes.
Over the summer, hundreds of students attended summer day camp, and with a partial reopening in mid-June, the museum welcomed visitors back to view BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life and tour the USS Blueback submarine.
With the start of the new school year and in response to the needs of the community, OMSI has launched a new suite of educational virtual programs to help support educators and parents. OMSI Homeroom is a museum-based, full-time childcare program developed to serve working families and students. The museum is adapting it’s Science at Home content to a new weekly format, offering free, curated, digital content for K-8 students focused on weekly themes.
"Ths has been a tough year for OMSI and for cultural institutions throughout Oregon. The funding from the CRFCS grant is a great boost, and a welcome relief,” said Graham. “I look forward to the day when we can fully reopen and restart all of our programs to engage Oregonians in the wonder of science learning.”