2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award
On November 9, 2017, representatives from the Newark Museum were in the Nation’s capital to receive an award from all three federal arts and culture agencies—the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)—on behalf of the Explorers Program. The program was recognized for its effectiveness in promoting learning and life skills in young people by engaging them through creative youth development programs. The after-school program received the 2017 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for these programs.
The award recognizes the country’s best creative youth development programs for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to generate a wide range of positive outcomes, such as increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. The awardees—chosen from a pool of 350 nominations and 50 finalists—were also recognized for improving literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.
Explorer Samantha Joseph was selected as the youth speaker for the NAHYP award and in her speech she reflected upon her experiences as an Explorer. You can watch the ceremony and her speech here: CLICK HERE.
from left: Jon Parrish Peede, Acting Chairman of the NEH; Samantha Joseph, Newark Museum Explorer; Steven Kern, Newark Museum Director & CEO.
About the Explorers Program
The Explorers Program is a college, career and life readiness program that enables Newark-area high school students to build essential skills and self-confidence through a curriculum that draws upon the Museum’s unique collections, resources and staff. Every year, 40 students from diverse backgrounds learn about their passions and strengths, and develop new skills as public speakers, teachers, researchers and leaders. Students are also paid for their participation in the Program. Explorers rotate through internships in different areas of the Museum and lead student-designed projects to gain real-life experience in a variety of jobs and fields of study.
In addition, students attend workshops focused on leadership training, public speaking, team-building, and museum-based art and science projects that promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) learning. Group trips to other institutions of culture and learning are another important part of the Explorers experience. Over their three to four-year tenure in the Program, participants must commit to spending six after-school hours per week in the program during the school year, in addition to 30 hours of community service per year, and 25 hours per week each summer.
Since the Program began 22 years ago, more than 270 students have graduated from the Explorers Program. Over the past 10 years, 100% of students graduating from the Program attended institutions of higher education. In the summer of 2017, the Program began accepting students in their freshman year of high school.