Penobscot Marine Museum has been awarded a $56,333 grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support the preservation and digitization of its National Fisherman Collection of 25,000 photographs. Penobscot Marine Museum is one of three institutions in Maine receiving funds from the IMLS Museums for America program in 2014.

The National Fisherman Collection was donated to Penobscot Marine Museum by Diversified Communications of Portland in 2012 and provides unequalled documentation of American commercial fishing from the 1920s into the 1990s. National Fisherman magazine is the U.S. commercial fishing industry’s publication of record, making this the largest collection of 20th-century photographs in the field. When completed, this National Fisherman preservation project will provide the only publically available online record of the history of modern fisheries.

“This collection documents the depletion of marine resources and the technological changes our nation’s commercial fishery underwent after World War II, and it provides a wealth of information to a large international audience of academic, governmental, and cultural content users,” said Liz Lodge, executive director of Penobscot Marine Museum.

Many of the 25,000 images in the collection include captions, annotations, photographers’ credits and references to magazine articles, making it both a visual and written documentation of the American fishing industry. The museum will use the grant funds to catalog, archivally house, digitize and provide public visual access to the collection on its website. The IMLS grant provides partial funding for this National Fisherman project.

Such grants are highly competitive, said IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth. The Institute of Museum and Library Services enlists hundreds of library and museum professionals throughout the United States to review grant applications and make recommendations on projects most worthy of funding. Receiving a grant from IMLS is significant achievement “and we congratulate Penobscot Marine Museum for being among the 2014 IMLS museum grantees.”

IMLS museum grants support a wide variety of projects that create learning experiences, strengthen communities, care for collections and provide broad public access. A list of Maine museum recipients is available online atimls.gov, as is information about IMLS museum grant programs. For more information about Penobscot Marine Museum, visit penobscotmarinemuseum.org or call 548-2529.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.