Illinois Museums and Local Journalism –Pillars of Democracy — Partner to Showcase Importance of “Prairie State” Museums
The Prairie State Museums Project began in April 2020 as an application to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s Coronavirus News Collaboration Challenge. In partnership with local media journalism across Illinois, this project elevates the stories of “Prairie State” museums and their inherent community and economic value as they face the COVID-19 crisis.
In June and July of 2020, the project will work with 13 news outlets across the state of Illinois (including more national and international outlets), employing 16 journalists, 1 project manager, and a project team which will assist in the production of a project video. This project video will reflect on the news coverage produced by the journalists of this project and will seek to communicate the value of museums in communities across the state of Illinois and the need for collaborative news journalism in light of diminishing local newsrooms.
To inform the critical and timely news coverage of this collaboration, the Prairie State Museums Project has partnered with Arts Alliance Illinois, the Illinois Association of Museums, the Midwest Museums Association, the American Alliance of Museums, and the International Council of Museums to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on museum institutions in Illinois as well as the sector at large. With a focus in supporting the work of museums and cultural institutions, these organizations provide background information about the world of museums, including programming elements, funding streams, and specific effects of the COVID-19 crisis on museums by way of two virtual convenings hosted by Zoom through the course of the project. Additionally, these virtual convenings allow for journalists to connect with each other to build on story ideas, share resources, and develop collaborations.
Both museums and journalism are the bedrock of an informed democracy. This collaboration between arts and culture nonprofits, and freelance journalists from across the “Prairie State” will serve as an example of how critical institutions can creatively support one another in an increasingly global and volatile world.
Prairie State Museums Project awarded grant from Pulitzer Center
Publication of Museum news stories in 14 different news outlets
Filming museum Prairie State Museums Project coverage across the state of Illinois for a promotional project video – dependent on donations
Debut of project video to general public