Mystic Aquarium Receives $150,000 IMLS Grant, Sept 2013

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently announced nearly $30,000,000 in grants to museums across the nation. Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium is receiving one of the 244 awards through the agency’s grant programs. Mystic Aquarium is receiving $150,000 through the IMLS Museums for America program to support a key improvement to its Arctic Coast exhibit. Mystic Aquarium’s one-acre, 750,000 gallon Arctic Coast exhibit is one of the largest outdoor beluga whale exhibits in North America. Beluga whales in the Mystic Aquarium collection serve as ambassadors for belugas in the wild.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth will present a workshop and ceremony on Capitol Hill, on September 18, to recognize the 2013 museum winners and to highlight successful applicants and awards. The event will showcase the many ways museums support learning experiences, serve as community anchors, and are stewards of cultural and scientific heritage through the preservation of their collections.

“IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.  “It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning, and community engagement.”


This grant will allow for the installation of a hydraulic lift system that will enhance veterinary care and provide a fast and efficient method for gaining hands-on access to animals within the existing exhibit. The new system will improve the care of the living collection of belugas in Mystic Aquarium’s Arctic Coast exhibit, increase animal and human safety and eliminate waste of resources.  In addition to expanding Sea Research Foundation’s organizational capacity, the project aids Sea Research Foundation in furthering the beluga conservation priorities set forth by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and sustaining and expanding the public access to beluga whales for current and future generations.

About Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium is a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, and is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only beluga whales. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. Sea Research receives major support from United Technologies Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company and Foxwoods Resort Casino. Learn more at

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.