Verizon Awards $100,000 Grant to Help Newark Museum Develop an African-American Curriculum for New Jersey Teachers and Students

Recognizing the need for New Jersey teachers to have more in-depth and innovative resources for teaching about Africa and its culture, Verizon has awarded the Newark Museum a $100,000 grant to fund the African Arts Education Initiative. 

The initiative will be rolled out over three years, harnessing the rich resources of the Newark Museum's nationally and internationally renowned African arts collection to develop a curriculum unit that will be disseminated to K-12 educators in New Jersey and nationwide.  In addition, a student and teacher tour program for the museum's African arts galleries will be developed and will include an interactive discovery area, a set of portable touchable African objects, and a printed gallery guide.

"The African Arts Education Initiative will produce exemplary learning opportunities for teachers and students in New Jersey and beyond," said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, director of the Newark Museum.

"This project presents a new vision for the ways that museums can support our children's education," she added. "Of course, a field trip to the museum is the best way to go, but the digital age has transformed the role of museum education.  When we have completed this new curriculum unit, teachers and their students will be able to access online information and visuals related to African arts - either as an independent study or to strengthen a museum visit.  We are seeking lasting impact with our curriculum resources, and Verizon's support of online learning is excellent."  

The African Arts Education Initiative will create:

  • A new teaching curriculum resource that focuses on select masterworks from the museum's African arts collection and includes a teaching guide with background information on the selected works, posters, CDs, lesson plans, and suggestions for additional print and electronic media. This resource will be available online.
  • A series of distance learning programs (webinars and videoconferences) to provide professional development for teachers to enhance their ability to use African arts in teaching about African history and culture and to make it more accessible to students.
  • Hands-on applications for an interactive exhibit in the museum's existing galleries of African art, in preparation for a major reinstallation in 2014.
  • A new series of gallery experiences for teachers and their students who will use the resources of the prototype exhibition and the museum's African arts collection.
  • Implementation of the curriculum in select school districts throughout the state, and the creation of complementary public programs to engage families - those of students, teachers and beyond - in the exploration of African arts, history and culture.

The Newark Museum's African arts collection was initiated in 1914 and is distinguished from other museums by its breadth of artistic representation, both in terms of the range of types of art works represented and its embrace of the entire continent. 

The primary resource for African arts in New Jersey, this arts collection now comprises more than 4,000 objects representing the diversity and vitality of artistic creativity, both past and present, throughout the continent, from northern Africa to the Cape of Good Hope.

"Verizon is proud to sponsor the Newark Museum in its efforts to educate and inspire through this special African arts collection," said Samuel Delgado, vice president of external affairs at Verizon. "A collection of this magnitude has interests for every taste. By exposing new audiences to this rich cultural history, we can inspire new artists, personal expression and a vital sense of wonder."

For more information on the Newark Museum's African arts collection, visit http://www.newarkmuseum.org/AfricanArt.html

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 104 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 196,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.