To fund the Object of History, CHNM and NMAH pursued and received a $248,048 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2005. In the same year, CHNM received IMLS funding for another project, SmartFox, which soon evolved into Zotero. Two years later, IMLS funding kicked off the development of Omeka. By funding what would become the Center’s most well-known projects, IMLS grants were instrumental in establishing CHNM as a leading digital humanities center. The Object of History played a part in that story by shaping CHNM’s positive reputation for delivering on project goals.
The three different CHNM projects funded by IMLS—the Object of History, Zotero, and Omeka—are strikingly different; the Object of History is an educational resource that connects teachers and students with a specific set of museum objects, Zotero is a tool that helps researchers gather and organize research materials and bibliographic information, and Omeka is a web-publishing platform for exhibiting digital collections. This range of projects reflects the receptiveness of IMLS to innovative ways of connecting the public with the resources of libraries and museums.