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2003-2004

Higgins Armory Museum Awarded $316,434 IMLS Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/SEPTEMBER 30, 2003
Contacts: Higgins Armory Museum, Sara Murphy 508-853-6015 x26
WPI Media Relations, Pat Samson 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - September 30, 2003 - The Higgins Armory Museum has been awarded a $316,434 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to establish summer institutes in metals conservation in partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The Metals Conservation Summer Institutes (MCSI), slated to take place in June of 2004, 2005 and 2006, will bring together conservation and metals experts from around the world and provide a strong foundation for a possible future graduate program in objects conservation at WPI.

"The sheer size of this award and the help it will provide in furthering the study of metals conservation is astronomical," said Kent dur Russell, executive director of the Higgins Armory Museum. "The MCSI will create a nationally and internationally recognized faculty of experts in the field, which is long overdue. The Higgins and WPI have a long history together, and receiving this grant will ensure an exciting and productive future."

The Higgins and WPI have been linked since the turn of the century: the founder of the Higgins Armory Museum, John Woodman Higgins, like his father and grandfather before him, attended the university and earned his engineering degree from WPI. He founded the John Woodman Higgins Armory Museum in 1928. In 1999 the Museum and WPI established an endowed and shared curator/professor position, currently held by Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng.

The Higgins Armory Museum has one of the largest collections of historical and archeological metals in the nation, and is the only museum in North America solely dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of arms and armor.

WPI, a national leader in metals research and home to the Metals Processing Institute (MPI), has roots in manufacturing and metal processing that extend back more than 130 years. Founded in 1865, WPI pioneered an approach to technical education in which students learned the theory of science and engineering in the classroom and put that knowledge into practice in a real manufacturing plant. MPI is the largest industry-university alliance dedicated to advancing the state of the art in the metal processing industry.

"With this grant, MPI and Higgins have forged a partnership that extends MPI's mission to scholarly activities in the domain of metals conservation, the Humanities and the Arts," said Diran Apelian, Howmet Professor of Engineering, and Founding Director of MPI.

The MCSI will bring together, for the first time, the specific technical expertise, specialized physical facilities and laboratories needed for such a program along with the involvement of other regional cultural institutions. Findings from the institutes will be published on a dedicated web site for world-wide use.

The Higgins Armory Museum, with 8,000 objects on 4 floors, is the only institution in the Americas dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and interpretation of arms and armor. Step inside this rare glass and steel Art Deco building and discover over 2,500 years of human history, including the romance of troubadours, live swordplay, and medieval pageantry. A visit to the Higgins will spark your imagination with the fact behind the fairytale! The Higgins Armory Museum celebrates its 75th anniversary year in 2003, with 75 events and programs that illuminate the culture of the Middle Ages. For more information visit www.higgins.org, or call 508-853-6015.

About WPI

Founded in 1865, WPI is a pioneer in technological higher education. WPI was the first university to understand that students learn best when they have an opportunity to apply the knowledge they gain in the classroom to the solution of important problems. Today its students, working in teams at more than 20 project centers around the globe, put their knowledge and skills to work as they complete professional-level work that can have an immediate positive impact on society.

WPI's innovative, globally focused curriculum has been recognized by leaders in industry, government and academia as the model for the technological education of tomorrow. Students emerge from this program as true technological humanists, well-rounded, with the confidence, interpersonal skills and commitment to innovation they need to make a real difference in their professional and personal lives.