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Educating visitors of all ages is one of the most important objectives at the American Independence Museum and one that recently received a major boost with a $10,000 grant from the Fullwood Foundation.

The grant award will enable the museum to purchase and incorporate mechanical physical interactives into three of its eight exhibit rooms. Part of the funds may also be used to purchase tactile, hands-on reproduction objects.
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According to museum Executive Director Emma Bray, the grant provides an opportunity for the museum to follow in the footsteps of similarly focused cultural institutions.

“Hands-on learning is not a catch-phrase,” she explained. “It’s how kids and many adults learn best, and we need to build spaces in our museum to allow for that. We are so thankful that the Fullwood Foundation shares our vision and has made such a critically important investment at such a perfect time for us.”

Bray said now is a particularly important time, because the museum is in the middle of a 5-year strategic plan with a focus on elevating its program offerings and enter new educational areas.

“The museum has a role in promoting 21st Century Learning Skills,” she said. “We can be relevant in today’s world, but we need the right tools. This grant puts them right in our hands.”

The timeline for the grant is approximately 9 months, which coincides with the museum’s opening for the 2019 season. Expressing excitement at the grant’s potential to affect its education objectives, Bray said there is also “a global theme” at play.

“We want to serve as a hub for downtown Exeter where people can gather, relax and feel at home here,” she said. “The more we can transform both the space inside our walls and outside them, the better it is for the profile of this vibrant town.”

She cited collaborations as instrumental to this vision.

“We do not work alone, which makes the partnerships we have with grant funders, corporate partners and individual donors so important,” she said. “We hope others will see Fullwood Foundation’s support of our operations and also want to invest in our mission to preserve our shared colonial history.”

Founded in 1991, the American Independence Museum welcomes more than 5,500 visitors annually and distinguishes itself with educational school programs and events that make history fun and relevant.