About the Ryan White Letters Project

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Museum) received a Museums for America grant (of $102,370) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the Learning Experiences category for The Ryan White Letters project. Through this digital learning project, the Museum has built upon its groundbreaking and successful permanent exhibit, The Power of Children: Making a Difference, by creating a digital series of educational programs and research resources using a unique letter collection compiled by Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who became internationally known in the early 1980s when he contracted HIV/AIDS.

The Ryan White Letters Project is a digital learning project created in cooperation between The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and the Center for Digital Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and is funded by a Museums for America grant from the IMLS. As part of the project, the letters have been scanned into a searchable digital database accessible to both researchers and members of the public. The project also includes classroom modules for teachers to discuss primary source material with their students, and a transcription tool allowing students to contribute to the digital archive. The opportunity to interact with Ryan’s letters provides insight on topics such as the role of education and tolerance in changing our cultural norms, and highlights the power that a single child has to make an impact on the world.