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Oklahoma Railway Museum Awarded CARES Act Grant

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) has awarded a $1000.00 PPE grant to the Oklahoma Railway Museum to help the museum purchase personal protective equipment and supplies to keep staff and visitors safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma Railway Museum is one of 64 institutions to receive a grant from ODL courtesy of the federal CARES Act and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). A total of $60,000 was distributed by ODL to address the coronavirus concerns of public libraries, tribal libraries, tribal cultural centers, museums, and historic sites in the state.

Eric Dilbeck, President, said the funding will be used to provide personal safety equipment, masks, sanitizing equipment and cleaning supplies.

“It looks like we may be dealing with this virus for some time, so it’s very important that we follow CDC guidelines as we open up services to the public.”, Dilbeck said. “This grant will provide supplies we need to help reduce risk of exposure for our employees, volunteers and visitors.”

“Our mission is The Oklahoma Railway Museum’s mission is to provide an educational experience of railroads and how they shaped Oklahoma and the nation, and we want to continue that mission in the safest way we can,” Dilbeck said.

The Oklahoma Railway Museum grounds and gifts hop have reopened Thursday through Saturday 9:00 to 5:00. Masks are required on museum grounds and on all train rides. The Museum is offering modified services, limiting guest capacity as well as implementing enhanced safety procedures in order to improve both staff/volunteer and guest safety. Currently spaces that cannot accommodate CDC social distancing protocols will remain closed.

In developing the grant, ODL Director Melody Kellogg said institutions were surveyed about any hurdles they might face in returning to service during the pandemic.

The top concerns of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions were a shortage of cleaning supplies and PPE equipment, fear on the part of staff and the public, and the challenge of enforcing social distancing and other best-health practices in their facilities.

“We developed the grant proposal to help address these concerns,” Kellogg said. “We were very fortunate in that we were able to provide some funding to all 64 of the eligible institutions that applied.”

The PPE grant is the first of two that will be available from ODL, with funding from IMLS and the CARES Act. The grants were designed to help the state’s important cultural institutions address two impacts of COVID-19: public health concerns, and the need to breach the digital divide and improve digital inclusion to better serve the public.

“The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the digital divide in our state and nation,” Kellogg said. “At a time when, for safety reasons, we are depending more than ever on electronic communication, far too many of our fellow citizens don’t have the tools or access needed to take advantage of important services.”

Recipients of the Digital Inclusion Grants, totaling $291,320, will be announced later in July.

A complete list of Oklahoma’s 64 PPE Grant recipients is at:

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