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Museum Innovation Fund

museum innovation fund logo purple and turquoise boxes spelling MIF 

A new round of Museum Innovation Fund projects awarded in August will debut this spring!

Launched in Fall 2021 by the Academy in collaboration with the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the Museum Innovation Fund (MIF) supports Drexel faculty and student projects that promote innovative approaches to museum learning and engagement. The latest round of projects is tied to the Academy’s Biodiversity Year.

A New Growth: Seeds, Foraging and Regeneration (The Not-So Secret Garden) 

Organized by Rachel Sherman of Drexel Food Lab and Assistant Professor and Program Director Alexandra Schmidt-Ullrich of Westphal Product Design, the project draws upon the Academy's Botany Herbarium and Library & Archives Collection to explore the history of seeds and foraged plants in the tri-state area in collaboration with local seed keepers and urban farmers. The group is developing a one-day Academy fair on March 18 focused on how the many cultures of Philadelphia engage with local foodways, urban foraging and local ecology.

Dancing Biodiversity

Dancing Biodiversity was conceived by Westphal's Adjunct Dance Program Faculty Albert Quesada and Dance Program Director Blanca Huertas-Agnew. The project engaged dance composition students to develop a series of live performances throughout the halls of the Academy's many dioramas. Using movement as a storytelling tool, the performances will respond to the diversity of environments showcased in the Academy's dioramas spanning North America, Asia and Africa. See Dancing Biodiversity for free with admission March 10–12. 

Seeing Birds: Field Notes by Citizen Scientists

Seeing Birds: Field Notes by Citizen Scientists, led by Writer's Room Founding Director and Associate Teaching Professor of English Rachel Wenrick and Teaching Professor of English in the Department of English and Philosophy Valerie Fox, links community-based class learning to the Academy's upcoming bird exhibitions by introducing students and residents to the Academy's ornithological illustrations, collections, and field notebooks. The group will hold a poetry writing workshop as part of the Academy's Conversations With Birds  exhibition and is developing experiences for our future Illuminating Birds exhibition, opening May 21, 2023.