Thanksgiving Point received a $212,051 federal grant last week to produce bilingual horticultural training videos and provide hands-on training to help museum employees throughout the country learn how to cultivate gardens and landscapes.

The “Museums Empowered” grant is part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services, or IMLS, program that gives museums between $5,000 and $250,000 for “staff capacity building projects that use professional development to generate systemic change within a museum.”

Thanksgiving Point, a Lehi nonprofit famous for its 55-acre garden, natural history museum and annual tulip festival, will use the grant to “identify nine areas of emphasis for horticultural proficiency of its staff” and create three to five digital modules for each area, including “20-30 minutes of video instruction and hands-on training with experts for each topic.”

“Thanksgiving Point will share digital training videos in both English and Spanish with museums across the country to benefit employee advancement efforts and horticultural cultivation and maintenance professionals,” the nonprofit said in a press release Friday.

U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, announced the awarded grant during a visit to Thanksgiving Point on Thursday and said the money would “benefit Thanksgiving Point and its beautiful gardens, as well as the Utah visitors who enjoy them, for years to come.”

“Thanksgiving Point is a Utah staple, serving families with their unique, fun and educational offerings,” McAdams said in the press release.

The grant coincides with Thanksgiving Point’s 25-year anniversary, according to CEO Mike Washburn, who said the nonprofit would use the money “to transform supervised gardener positions into horticulturalist leadership roles honoring the hard work and expertise our team members need to create world-class landscapes.”

“We selected the theme of ‘Welcoming All’ to celebrate Thanksgiving Point’s 25th anniversary,” Washburn said. “This program maximizes our 25th anniversary goal by deepening relationships with team members and communities.”

The horticultural training project is one of a number of Thanksgiving Point initiatives in partnership with IMLS aimed at raising public awareness about museums and increasing access to education.

In December, Thanksgiving Point joined the IMLS’ “Museums for All” program that gives food stamp recipients discounted entry into any of the nonprofit’s venues, including the Ashton Garden, Butterfly Biosphere, Museum of Ancient Life and Museum of Natural Curiosity. By presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, groups of up to six can access one of Thanksgiving Point’s attractions for $2 per person.

The IMLS granted more than $3.7 million in federal funds to museums around the country this year for 21 “Museums Empowered” projects. The institutions receiving the grants, including Thanksgiving Point, will match the grant dollars with over $4.2 million in non-federal funds.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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