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University of Akron receives $5 million gift for Native American artifacts museum; names two deans

April 19, 2017 | In the Press

From Cleveland.com (http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/04/university_of_akron_receives_x.html)

The University of Akron has received a $5 million gift to build a museum to house Native American artifacts.

The gift, from longtime UA benefactors Jim and Vanita Oelschlager, will enable the construction of The Oak Native American Museum as part of the Institute for Human Science and Culture at UA's Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

The new museum, announced at Wednesday's trustee meeting, will provide research opportunities and community access to the Oelschlagers' collection of 800 rare Native American artifacts.

The third and fourth floor of the The Cummings Center will be renovated and will feature galleries, a reading room, classrooms and a workshop.

"The Institute for Human Science and Culture is devoted to education and research in the history, preservation, documentation and interpretation of the human experience," UA President Matthew Wilson said in a statement. "This gift will become an asset to the entire community, offering hands-on learning experiences involving the museum's collection."

"We decided that The University of Akron would be the appropriate organization to house, display and study our Native American collection," Jim Oelschlager said in a statement. "It will provide students an opportunity to learn how to manage, research and display these historical items from different parts of the continent, thus preparing them to be able to work on other collections." Vanita Oelschlager added, "We are taking a private collection and making it available to the students for study and to the general public for viewing."

Construction of the museum will take up to 20 months, and no opening date has been set. The museum will offer hours for public viewing, while group tours and visits also will be available.

A full-time curator to manage the collection of Native American artifacts through their display, cataloging and preservation is also supported by the Oelschlagers, in cooperation with the Lynn Rodeman Metzger Endowed Curatorship in Anthropology.

The Oelschlagers have supported the Oelschlager Summer Leadership Institute, which allows area high school students to participate in a seven-day workshop on UA's campus. The Oelschlagers have also supported various scholarships for UA students, helping hundreds achieve their college dreams.

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