Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Carnegie Center Garners Prestigious Prize

Outstanding news and congratulations to our friends at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, New Albany's chrysalis-like center for culture. If you haven't been by there lately, pick a day and I'll pay your admission fee! ;)

The Carnegie Center is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a 2007 MUSE Bronze Award in the Teaching and Outreach category. A MUSE award recognizes achievement in museum media, and is conferred by the Media and Technology Standing Professional Committee of the American Association of Museums. Winning entries were expected to demonstrate outstanding achievement in content quality, interface design, functionality, production quality, visual appeal and the user’s experience.

The Carnegie Center’s award was given for its newest permanent exhibit, “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage: Men and Women of the Underground Railroad in the Indiana and Kentucky Borderland” which was designed by Solid Light, Inc. of Louisville, KY. It is a unique interactive learning experience, which enhances awareness of the deep political and ideological divisions experienced throughout the Ohio River Valley as a result of slavery. Focusing on local citizens – barbers, ferrymen, ministers, freed people – who risked their lives, welfare and freedom to help runaways, the exhibit illustrates individual acts of resistance in undermining the institution of slavery.

In commenting on the project, the judges noted it is “a beautiful and moving presentation that heightens understanding of a portion of the Underground Railroad. The DVD is very engaging and full of deep, rich content, offering viewers a slightly different perspective to gain new understanding of the complexity of the issue. The technology was user-friendly and enabled the delivery of a powerful narrative. The production quality was very high using photographs, historical documents, drawings, voiceover, and reenactments in an impressive and aesthetically pleasing manner.”

The MUSE Awards competition received nearly 200 applications from a wide variety of museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Nick Honeysett, Chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Committee said, “The quality and diversity of entries has been exceptional. The ingenuity and creativity of the people who conceptualize and build these projects never ceases to amaze me.”

Carnegie Center Director Sally Newkirk was on hand to receive the award at the 2007 American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Chicago on May 13. She said, “ It is an honor and privilege to accept the award on behalf of all who were involved throughout the development of our exhibit. Competitors for this award represent a Who’s Who in the museum field, and the Carnegie Center has earned its rightful place on this international platform.”

She noted the outstanding financial support from Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, the Carnegie Center for Art & History, Inc., the New Albany/Floyd County Public Library, the U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service, Dr. Curt & Pam Peters, Cinergy Foundation, Paul V. Ogle Foundation, James & Phyllis Robinson, National City, Tri Kappa, Nu Chapter, Vectren Foundation, Aebersold Charitable Trust, and numerous individual contributors. She also expressed gratitude to the members of the Advisory Committee for their vision, professional expertise and wise counsel to ensure sensitivity and historical integrity in the telling of this important story.

A regional art gallery and local history museum, the Carnegie Center for Art & History is a department of the New Albany/Floyd County Public Library. It is located at 201 E. Spring Street in downtown New Albany and open Tuesday through Saturday, 10-5:30. Admission is free. Visit the website at www.carnegiecenter.org.

What's the "books hook," you ask? Pam Peters' The Underground Railroad in Floyd County, Indiana was a critical research tool in developing the multi-media exhibit. Pam's book continues to sell well and is a requirement for any Indiana history bookshelf. It recently went to a second printing.

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