Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
FILE - Students walk into the J Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. The J. Willard Marriott Library and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah have been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide partial funding for a project that will establish the U. as a resource hub for artists and scholars studying the West.

SALT LAKE CITY — The J. Willard Marriott Library and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah have been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to provide partial funding for a project that will establish the U. as a resource hub for artists and scholars studying the West.

As leaders in the region for scholarly research, exhibition design and collections care, the library and museum curate extensive — but separate — holdings related to environmental and cultural histories of the Intermountain West.

Officials hope that through this four-year initiative, titled “Landscape, Land Art, and the American West: A Joint Research and Engagement Initiative of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and the J. Willard Marriott Library," the collections will be linked in ways that enable students, faculty and researchers to systematically mine content for innovative learning and teaching.

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The award is the largest Mellon Foundation grant the U. has ever received and the only Mellon grant the university has been awarded in the arts and humanities. It will be matched by $200,000 from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and additional support from across campus, including from the colleges of Fine Arts, Health, Humanities, and Mines and Earth Sciences.

Together the library and museum will develop shared technology to promote the discovery and use of both collections and create initiatives to support faculty and student research. They will also appoint two joint positions to research the collections and increase communication, collaboration and the use of these key resources.