Staff of Dallin Museum and Collector Resource digitize and catalog museum archives.
Staff of Museum and Collector Resource digitize and catalog archives.

Arlington’s Cyrus Dallin Art Museum has received a $50,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts via the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

These funds enable the museum to redesign its entryway and the Indigenous Peoples Gallery, as well as digitize the museum’s archives and build an online searchable database. Both projects are expected to be completed by May.

“This grant is truly transformational for the Dallin Museum," says Heather Leavell, museum curator/director. "These high-priority projects will enhance the museum’s accessibility and inclusivity, and promote continued community conversations about the impact of artist Cyrus Dallin’s work in both the past and present.”

Facilitating the grant was state Rep. Sean Garballey, assisted by a team from the museum, including Stephen Gilligan, chair of the Friends of the Dallin Museum; Board of Directors President Geri Tremblay, Nancy Blanton, Dan Johnson, Andrew Jay, James Charnley and Leavell.

“The Dallin Museum sincerely thanks Representative Garballey for his leadership in securing this important grant,” says Tremblay. 

The museum is also grateful to the Town of Arlington and the Municipal Board of Trustees for their ongoing collaboration and support.

Redesign improves museum experience 

The Dallin Museum is working with indigenous stakeholders to ensure that the redesigned spaces accurately represent the histories, cultures, resilience and living presence of those who were the subjects of Cyrus Dallin’s works. The museum will thus be a more inclusive and welcoming environment for visitors that reflects multiple experiences and perspectives.

The redesign will also align the educational content in the museum’s physical space with its ongoing public programming focused on Cyrus Dallin’s advocacy and indigenous perspectives on history and healing.

A redesigned entryway and Indigenous Peoples Gallery will by improve the display of the sculptures and the communication of interpretive themes. Revised floor plans, new pedestals, refreshed paint finishes, colorful window graphics, interpretive panels, an audio program and an interactive display prompting visitors to make connections between the past and present will make the museum more engaging, visitor-centered and self-directed, thus enhancing the visitor experience. 

Museum officials say they are honored to have received a $5,000 Partnership Grant from Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area because that also helps support this project.

Digitization preserves Dallin’s work

Digitizing Dallin’s work preserves these invaluable cultural materials, and makes them accessible to community members, local historians, scholars, and genealogists seeking to better understand the legacy of Cyrus Dallin and the Dallin family in Arlington and beyond.

The Dallin Museum is working with Museum and Collector Resource (MCR) of Concord to scan and catalog its archives, and provide public access to these materials via a searchable database at MCR has a long and successful track record of collections management, planning and curatorial work with museums across the country.

The Dallin Museum’s archive is the country’s leading repository for historical research on the life and legacy of Cyrus Dallin and the Dallin family. It comprises more than 6,000 items including correspondence, sketches, journals, exhibition catalogs, clippings and manuscripts related to Cyrus Dallin, as well as poems and manuscripts written by his wife, Vittoria Dallin. 

The papers of Rell G. Francis, Dallin’s biographer, make up a significant portion of the collection. These materials consist of original research and book manuscripts, and more than 3,000 photos featuring Cyrus Dallin and his studio in Arlington, colleagues and family, locations of significance to the sculptor’s life and work, and images of his statues around the country.

Cyrus Dallin Art Museum 

Founded in 1998, the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum is the only museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to preserving the legacy of this internationally recognized artist, educator and Indigenous rights advocate. With exhibits that include more than 100 works of Dallin’s art, including approximately 50 sculptures, 10 paintings, and several coins and medals, the museum’s mission is to promote new insights into our shared history by exploring the life, work and values of this celebrated sculptor. Learn more at

 Dec. 6, 2021: Dallin Art Museum succeeds despite pandemic

This news announcement by YourArlington freelancer Susan Gilbert was published Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.