Partnering in a Pandemic: Prairie State Museums Project and Local Journalism

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. This project is produced by Resilient Heritage and funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The Prairie State Museums Project is a collaborative museum project involving journalists and museums across the American State of Illinois. It is an example of how museums can actively collaborate with professionals outside their field.

Funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s ‘News Collaboration Challenge’, the Illinois Humanities (the State’s humanities funder) and individual donors, the project focused on the resources of the journalism community in reporting on museums. Resilient Heritage, led by Principal Daniel Ronan, gathered and coordinated a group of 16 freelance journalists across Illinois, from June to August 2020, to bring attention to the impact of Covid-19 on museum institutions across the State.

The project reflected the geographic diversity of the state, featuring more than 35 stories about how museums are innovating in the face of the pandemic. Noting the need to diversify of the journalism profession, the project team also prioritised gender and racial diversity, helping to promote more equitable reporting, particularly due to the overrepresentation of communities of colour among those suffering Covid-19-related infections and deaths. Read more information here.

To expand upon the conversations and themes presented in the published stories, the project team produced a video to highlight the collaborations from the project.

A detailed report about the Prairie State Museums Project will be available on the project website after a series of Pulitzer Center public programs, featuring the journalists funded as a part of the collaboration. Visit Prairie State Museums Project to find out more.

Resilient Heritage collaborates at the crossroads between and among arts, culture, and heritage. Working with museums, community organizations, philanthropy, and the governmental sector, Resilient Heritage builds value and relationships that in turn strengthen organizations to fulfill mission-critical work through organizational development, fundraising, and public engagement.

Pulitzer Center raises awareness of underreported global issues through direct support for quality journalism across all media platforms and a unique program of education and public outreach. 

ICOM (international council of museums)

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