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Wed, Dec. 11

Sharlot Hall receives award, special grant

The Arizona Humanities Council named the Sharlot Hall Museum as its 2005 Distinguished Organization, at a ceremony at Northern Arizona University on Oct. 31.

The award presentation was at the 14th annual Lorraine W. Frank Lecture in the Humanities featuring poet Nikki Giovanni.

The award goes to museums and organizations that work with the Humanities Council to provide a public service in carrying on innovative programs in the humanities and the world of ideas, said Sharlot Hall Museum's director, Richard Sims.

The major events held by the museum each year include the Folk Arts Fair, the Folk Music Festival, the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Prescott Book Festival and the Indian Arts Market.

In addition, it is the home of the Blue Rose Theater with its historical theatrical settings as well as exhibits, displays, and lectures. (See related article on Grand Canyon Lecture Series, p. 36)

Sims said the importance of the award is in the recognition the museum received from the museum community in the state of Arizona.

The award also included $500 for the museum, which is the largest in central Arizona.

The Sharlot Hall Museum's mission is to collect and preserve the documentary history of Yavapai County and the surrounding region.

"This award puts us in the company of the state's most prestigious institutions and organizations," Sims said. "It is also a tribute to our staff for all the fine work they do."

The Arizona Humanities Council is the state affiliate of the federal National Endowment for the Humanities.

All AHC-supported activities must involve humanities disciplines such as history, literature, philosophy and other studies that examine the human condition.

Former AHC director Dan Schilling now works for the Sharlot Hall Museum.

He'll be administering a $106,000 grant the museum received from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to promote heritage tourism in Arizona.

Schilling described heritage tourism as visits to historical and archaeological sites as well as centers and museums which tourists are becoming increasingly drawn to.

The desire of Americans to see, hear and explore a connection to our historic past has increased since the 9/11/01 attacks.

Heritage tourism promotes what is already in a community and does not require a great deal of construction.

"There are a lot of communities that build tourist attractions like theme parks, but Arizona has so many natural and historic attractions that we can capitalize on," according to Schilling. "This grant will be used to help communities around the state learn how to promote what is already in their own back yard."

The federal grant was the only one given to a Western organization by the Institute.

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