Durbin Announces Funding for Education Programs and Research Initiatives at Illinois Cultural Institutions

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded four Museums for America grants totaling $484,497 to cultural institutions in Illinois. These funds will help allow recipient institutions to better serve their communities by supporting high-priority activities that support their mission and strategic goals.


“Illinois is home to many of the nation’s finest cultural institutions,” said Durbin. “Today’s funding will help our museums, zoos, and botanic gardens better engage children and adults alike.”


Today’s funding is part of $18.8 million in Museums for America grants awarded nationwide by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Museums for America is the Institute’s largest grant program. The IMLS is a primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums that works to enhance learning and innovation, support professional development, and to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge.


The following Illinois institutions will receive funding:


  • Chicago Botanic Garden: $150,000 in funding to develop a Web-based plant information and interpretive guide for on-site and virtual visitors. The site will enable visitors to find and identify plants, access horticulture tips, and gain information about additional learning opportunities.


  • DuPage Children’s Museum: $35,249 in funding to support “Teaching Science Right from the Start,” a professional development program which equips family childcare providers to engage children with high-quality science learning activities. The project aims to develop curiosity, creative thinking, and problem solving skills in young children so that they can excel in mathematics and science education when they reach school.


  • Lincoln Park Zoo: $149,295 in funding to develop six new mobile learning stations positioned throughout the zoo grounds. After a consultative development process is complete, the new stations will encourage visitors to observe, question, discuss, and reflect upon the wildlife around them.


  • Southern Illinois University Museum: $149,955 in funding for the 21st Century Collection Management Initiative, which has already created a focused inventory of 60,000 of the museum’s records. The proposed project will photograph and research 3,797 artifacts from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania to create 26 online collection portfolios.