NEA Grant to Fund Chippewa Valley Museum’s Musical Mission

Tom Giffey

Chippewa Valley Museum
Chippewa Valley Museum

A $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will help the Chippewa Valley Museum with a new project focused on the region’s musical heritage. The museum announced March 12 that the grant will fund the Musical Identities project, which is expected to lead to a new museum exhibit and more. “Many in the region are energized about local music,” Chippewa Valley Museum Director Carrie Ronnander said. “Our Musical Identities project is part of a larger effort to provide a more inclusive history of local music and encourage reflection on the community’s distinct identity.” As part of the project, Joseph O’Connell – a North Carolina-based folklorist and musician – will “document the role of traditional and community-based music in the Chippewa Valley,” a press release stated. O’Connell’s fieldwork, combined with material gathered as part of last year’s Sounds of Eau Claire History Harvest project, will be combined to create a new exhibit – expected to open in the spring of 2020 – as well as podcasts and videos. The museum says Musical Identities is “part of a multi-year initiative to expand and deepen access to cultural experiences in Eau Claire using music and music history as a theme.” The initiative also includes renovating the museum theater, producing a new theater show, making a music history walking tour mobile app, and creating a traveling exhibit. Fundraising for the $275,000 effort is ongoing, the museum said. 

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