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Muhammad Ali Center Receives $50,000 Grant From The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Will Provide Resources to Create Publicly Accessible Digital Database of Archival Items

$2.7 Million Awarded to Support African American History and Culture
Federal Investments in Museums, HBCUs, Cultural Heritage Organizations Generate Additional $2.6 Million

Louisville, KyThe Muhammad Ali Center is proud to be a recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will provide resources to create a publicly accessible digital database of Muhammad Ali-related archival items.  The Ali Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is one of  22 museum recipients announced, totaling $2,731,000 through the Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) program, generating an additional $2,584,312 in matching funds.

Museum Grants for African American History and Culture (AAHC) support activities that build the capacity of African American museums and support the growth and development of museum professionals at African American museums. The program received an increase of $500,000 in FY 2020 Congressional appropriations.

  • The publicly accessible digital database will afford the Ali Center to broadly share the life and legacy of world heavyweight champion, global humanitarian, and cultural icon,  Muhammad Ali. The museum’s archive includes photographs, negatives, boxing contracts, fight posters and print materials, personal documents, film and video tapes, and physical artifacts. 7,000 newly digitized documents will be migrated to a new collections management system, and the project team will design a public-facing database. The project will enable access to information that was previously only available by visiting the museum and cultural center in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

“IMLS has long supported museums, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and related organizations who are dedicated to the preservation and celebration of African American history and culture,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “These grants represent the agency’s deep commitment to the advancement of the essential work of our nation’s African American museums and HBCUs.”

Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, said, “This grant will make archival items more accessible to those around the globe who are interested in learning more about Muhammad Ali’s legacy, but who might never have the opportunity to visit our facility onsite.  We are grateful to IMLS for this grant, especially at a time when travel around the world has been compromised due to the global pandemic.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture Act authorized IMLS to establish grant programs for museums of African American history and culture in 2003. IMLS helps these museums and related organizations improve operations, enhance stewardship of collections, engage in professional development, and attract new professionals to the field. IMLS’s first AAHC grants were awarded in 2006, and since that time, IMLS has awarded grants totaling $20,282,735 of federal funds and $23,446,237 in matching funds.

“This year, we received a record number of applications in the fourteen-year history of the program, and among those, many first-time applicants,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museum Services. “We are thrilled that nearly a million of this year’s funding will be supporting the work and contributions of eight HBCUs.”

A list of all projects funded are available in the awarded grants search.

More information about museum funding opportunities can be found on the IMLS website.

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