By Meghan E. Gattignolo
When the Montgomery County Google Data Center opened in 2019, it opened up new opportunities for Clarksville. The boost in job availability was a huge benefit, as well as the inclusion of the kind of tech jobs most Clarksville residents previously had to drive to Nashville for. Another added value for the community was the introduction of Google’s Data Center Community Grants, which identify nonprofits who are making a difference in their community and help fund their impactful programs.
The Google Data Center Community Grant program is just one iteration of a legacy of Google investing in nonprofits since 2003. This community grant is special, however, because it specifically focuses on investing in the local community that surrounds data centers. Projects that are considered focus on access and education in STEM subjects, creating economic opportunities, bridging the digital divide, environmental sustainability, health and science, and arts and culture.
A recent recipient of the grant for the Clarksville community is the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, an institution with a 40-year track record of fostering learning and enrichment through exhibits and educational programming.
Thanks to this Google grant, the Museum is excited to bring two exhibits to the Clarksville community in 2024, starting next month!
From Here to There
February 8 – April 24
How do things move on land, sea, and air? This hands-on exhibit explores the physics and logistics of transportation through a series of interactive stations. This is a traveling exhibit developed by the Sciencenter, the Rochester Museum & Science Center, and TEAMS Collaborative.
Late November 2024
Our world is made of water, and so are we. This exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street initiative takes a deep look at this essential component of life on our planet, which powers the environment’s engine, impacts climate and helps shape and sculpt the landscape.
Hosting exhibits created by other institutions can be an expensive endeavor, so funds from the Google grant helps the Museum bring these great exhibits to our community. The benefit of the Google Community Grant program cannot be understated.
The implication of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center receiving a Google Data Center Community Grant speaks volumes about the Museum’s impact on Clarksville. The Museum is a center for learning for all ages in Clarksville. Education is one of the pillars of the Museum’s mission.
However, Google community grants don’t just support education, but access to STEM education, particularly for underserved groups. The exhibits that the Google grant is bringing to the Museum will focus on engineering and physical sciences with lots of opportunity to learn. With the Museum’s variety of access to the members of the community through field trips, homeschool programs, pay-what-you-can on Fifth Saturday Donation Day, Smithsonian Museum Day, Art Walk, and participation in the Blue Star Museums and Museums for All programs, the reach for access to these exhibits is wide.
Google Data Center Community Grants have already been hard at work around Clarksville. In 2022, Austin Peay State University professors Dr. Marylu Dalton and Dr. Jennifer Yantz received a Google grant to develop a math trail with an accompanying app that leads younger students from point to point around the APSU campus to show how math is present all around.
For students who may not be totally sold on the idea that math is a useful subject, some time on the APSU Math Trail might change their mind. Those who hadn’t been interested in math before might be inspired to learn what else math can do for them. Google has also granted awards to robotics clubs and coding camps in hopes to garner interest in STEM subjects and encourage more kids to join these fields.
As a 25-year-old tech company, Google is optimistic about the future of communications technology as a real source for good. Google grants invest directly in the community, and into institutions that are already working towards improving the lives of the people they serve. Google knows the right application of investment into a community’s resources will only help it grow and flourish.
Don’t miss the first exhibit funded by Google’s Data Center Community Grant at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, From Here to There, opening on February 8. Exhibit is free to Museum members. Admission for non-members is $12 for adults 18 and older; $9 for college, military, CMCSS teachers, and seniors; and $5 for kids 3-17. Ages 2 and under are free.
Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two daughters.