Research, innovation and scholarship: ideals that fuel the existence of two leading institutions in the arts and education sectors.

Museums and universities, more often than not, share similar values and goals. Some recognize this and already collaborate on educational opportunities, offering internships and research fellowships for faculty, students and museum professionals. Partnerships like these can be highly beneficial for all parties involved.

Still, what if museums and universities dug in deeper on those relationships? What if they were to build more dynamic partnerships that not only align their strategic goals and provide mutual benefits, but also create greater impact in their communities?

Enter the recent partnership between University of Maryland, College Park, and The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art. Announced this past fall by Phillips Collection Director Dorothy Kosinski and University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh, the transformative partnership is an opportunity for the two institutions to collaborate on advancing innovation and education in the arts.

“UMD and the Phillips will collaborate on several initiatives, including expanding on and developing new arts curriculum and extended studies courses and seminars; supporting postdoctoral fellowships; partnering on the Phillips’ International Forum Weekend; co-publishing a UMD-Phillips Book Prize; co-presenting a new music series at the Phillips; enhancing programming for public programs; and digitizing of the museum’s archives,” Kosinski said.

UMD now has access to the museum’s valuable collections and resources, allowing for the growth of their academic programs within the arts. For the Phillips Collection, the partnership helps the museum to expand their vision, reach greater audiences, and pursue key initiatives that align with their strategic goal of being an “experiment station.”

For example, the Phillips Collection is especially excited about a postdoctoral fellowship offered in “Virtual Culture,” in which an academic fellow will study the use of virtual technology to enhance museum experiences.

The partnership, you could say, was a natural fit. The Phillips Collection and UMD both value STEAM-based (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) learning initiatives. They also hope to reach beyond their walls and into the community to impact — and also interact with — diverse audiences.

To accomplish this, the two paired up on opening a new gallery and storage facility in Prince George’s County that will serve as a modern and contemporary art center and artistic laboratory. They expect the center to spark economic development and innovation in the community.

Partnerships with advanced programming and educational collaboration allow museums to be hubs of creativity and innovation. They also put these institutions in a position to help reform education and even revitalize local economies.

As Kosinski put it, “Armed with a forward-looking entrepreneurial spirit, these partnerships allow museums and universities to reach new audiences, disrupt conventional thinking, and inspire new heights of achievement and impact. In all, sharing resources and expertise better positions our institutions to positively affect education in the 21st century.”