Durbin Announces More Than $1.3 Million in Grants for Illinois Museums

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded 10 Museums for America grants totaling $1,319,185 to museums in the Chicago metropolitan area and northern Illinois.  These funds will help allow recipient institutions to better serve the public by supporting high-priority activities that support their mission and strategic goals.

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

Today’s funding is part of $19.6 million in Museums for America grants awarded nationwide today 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 Chicago Metro Area museums will receive funding:


  • Chicago Academy of Sciences: $146,726 in funding to begin the Collections Inventory Project to inventory and digitally catalog six of the Academy’s collections.
  • Chicago Horticultural Society: $149,998 in funding for the Chicago Botanic Garden to pilot the Native Seed Farming Project, a collaborative and complementary strategy to assist vulnerable people and plant communities. The project will test the viability of generating native seed stock as a marketable crop for urban farmers. Training will be conducted through the Garden’s Windy City Harvest program, which offers an accredited job-training program in urban agriculture for at-risk young adults.
  • Chicago Zoological Society: $125,618 in funding to create “My Water Footprint,” a website that will use geospatial, whole-earth visualization systems to educate visitors about where they live, their interactions with water, and how they are connected to watersheds.
  • Field Museum of Natural History: $100,297 in funding to expand and grow efforts to train parents to engage their children in science.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust: $46,562 in funding for the “Building a Future for Architecture Education” program, which will help develop and sustain a trained group of education program providers. These providers will enable the Preservation Trust to maintain its high quality youth and family programming as well as expand its offerings and outreach.
  • Morton Arboretum: $150,000 in funding to develop and design a traveling exhibit intended to empower people to protect and preserve threatened and endangered trees.
  • Shedd Aquarium: $150,000 in funding to broaden and diversify the Aquarium’s volunteer corps for the 21st century.
  • University of Chicago-Oriental Institute Museum: $150,000 in funding to begin a three-phase integrated database project. The project will allow the museum to move its diverse digital data into an integrated database and also allow for broad public access to their collections, almost none of which are currently available online.
  • University of Illinois-Jane Addams Hull House Museum: $149,984 in funding to begin the “Hungry for Peace” initiative. The initiative will consist of a monthly lecture series, weekly lecture and discussion programs, and a half-acre farm which will be used to teach local urban children about nutrition and food access issues. 


The following Northern Illinois museums will receive funding:


  • Midway Village Museum (Rockford): $150,000 in funding to construct and install an immersive, interactive exhibit on the history of immigration to Rockford entitled “Many Faces, One Community.”