President Sally McLouth and Curator Jim Haley stand inside the Montague Museum.
This year will mark the fifth year that the Alcoa Foundation has been an extraordinary community friend to the Montague Museum in a unique two-sided friendship.
The Alcoa Foundation has made Alcoa Action Grants in the amount of $3,000 each year for a total of $18,000, including the October 2012 contribution. The Museum then allocates the Alcoa Action Grants’ funds to particular projects.
But what makes the Alcoa Foundation project so unique is that in addition to monetary contribution, an Alcoa volunteer work force has done a number of needed maintenance projects to the Museum building itself.
Amy Heiser, director of Alcoa Corporation Human Resources, describes this community outreach. “The Alcoa Foundation allocates 27 Alcoa Action Grants each year. In conjunction, the volunteer work force of Alcoa employees of 10 or more do a stint of 4 hours, for a total of at least 40 hours to coordinate with the grant. The “more” of the Alcoa volunteers are often family and friends of the Alcoa employees to come and do their part for the community.”
The Montague Museum Alcoa volunteer work force has been spearheaded by John Hanson and Greg Johnson. They provided this staggering list of work that has been done over the years to aid the museum. From viewing the listing, it is readily apparent that Alcoa has been a true museum friend not only in general upkeep and repairs, but also in more specialized curator projects to enhance the collection.
Repairs: Among the many and varied are the foyer entrance; a portion of the ceiling; old historic signs and installation; cupboards removed and repainted.
Painting: main areas throughout the Museum; the kitchen room display.
A wide variety of curator updates: arranged and sorted different displays: rewrote and replaced labels; reorganized pictures, folders and books; general repair to keep the displays repaired and attractive. This year, the Oct. 6 Alcoa volunteer workday resulted in an upgrade of displays and other areas.
Volunteers built a new display wall in the basement.
And, volunteers created a garden area of trees and shrubs to beautify the outside and entrance.
For the other side of the Alcoa Action Grants, the dispersal of funds, the Montague Museum Board and members have designated the allocation of Alcoa Action Grants to two major projects. One, the transfer of over 100 years of the Montague Observer newspapers onto CDs in a joint project with Lakeshore Document Services and the Muskegon Genealogical Society, a project still underway. And two, the placing of clear Plexiglas on the exterior to protect the unique and exquisite stained glass windows.
The Alcoa Foundation Action Grants truly live up to the name: the monetary grants provide on-going life to the particular project, and the Alcoa volunteer action is a hands-on commitment to sustaining the project in its mission.