Illinois Museum Day

May 1, 2019 Illinois Museum Day At the Capitol in Springfield Read More

Illinois Association of Museums Exhibits Workshop

Exhibit Assessment Workshop - FREE to IAM Members, $25 for Nonmembers Read More

Funds Approved for 2015 Suspended Public Museum Capital Grants!

This year at Museum Day, IAM teamed up with Museums in the Park to ask the General Assembly to address the 2015 suspended Museum Public Grants.  We are pleased to announce that the funds were restored!




To:      Members of the General Assembly

From:  Deborah Lahey, President, Museums In the Park

            Karen Everingham, President, Illinois Association of Museums

Date:   March 22, 2019

Re:      Public Museums New and Suspended Capital Grants

The Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) and Museums In the Park (MIP) represent the Illinois Public Museum Community of over 1,200 institutions.

In 2009, the General Assembly passed a major Capital Program that included $50 million for Public Museums. This was the first museum capital program since 1999. The money was to be allocated under existing law and rules by the Department of Natural Resources. The rules required various amounts of private match, thus growing the Capital Program to nearly $100 million. Over 60 museums statewide benefited from the program.

Unfortunately, in March 2015, the Rauner Administration suspended the final payments of the 2009 program that were awarded to 47 Public Museums statewide. The suspension of already awarded grants has caused great hardship, as many projects were actively underway.

In this year’s budget (Public Act 100-0586) the General Assembly re-appropriated these suspended grants and re-appropriated certain member initiatives that were previously made to various Public Museums. But after the budget was passed, the Rauner Administration determined that it could not reimburse grantees under the suspended programs for their reasonable actions to protect or finish projects after the suspension.

In response to this, Senator Koehler has introduced SB 1814 to allow for reimbursement of cost incurred prior to July 1, 2018. Please support this bill, and please continue to re-appropriate these grants until they are completed.

As you now consider a new Capital Program, we ask that you include funding for Public Museums. From crumbling century-old historic facades to overburdened HVAC systems, our Public Museums have critical infrastructure needs. These unique institutions must make capital improvements to their aging facilities to continue to operate at world-class standards, and to guarantee life safety for staff and guests.

Capital grant funding for our Public Museums will help secure the future of the Illinois Museum Community. Remember that the rules in place already require various amounts of private match, thus expanding the overall impact.

Please support Public Museums with funding through the Capital Grants program.


2014 Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Programs Awards
Champaign County
• Museum of the Grand Prairie, $238,200 to demolish an existing structure and create a new
climate controlled addition. Total project cost $289,100.
• Virginia Theatre, $750,000 to design, engineer and install house stage lighting, catwalk, light
boxes and sound equipment. Total project cost $750,000.
Cook County
• Adler Planetarium, $750,000 to help develop a new observation deck including a walkway
access point, LED lighting, guard rails and indoor improvements. Total project cost $1.5
• The Art Institute of Chicago, $750,000 to replace climate control systems, tuckpointing,
waterproofing and a new security system. Total project cost $2.25 million.
• Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, $750,000 to develop, design and construct a new exhibit
and resource center about sustainable living practices and green technology. Total project
cost $750,000.
• Chicago Botanic Garden, $750,000 for architectural and engineering design work on a new
Education Center. Total project cost $16.3 million.
• Chicago Children¹s Museum, $22,500 to convert gallery space from a permanent exhibit space
to a short run exhibit and educational programming space. Total project cost $45,000.
• Chicago History Museum, $750,000 for gallery renovations including new lighting, acoustics,
restrooms, vestibules, climate control and a lighted floor map. Total project cost $1.25
• Brookfield Zoo, $750,000 for four restroom upgrades. Total project cost $2.25 million.
• DuSable Museum of African American History, $750,000 to enhance the lobby including new
doors, roof repairs, downspouts, flashing, gutters and insulation. Total project cost
• Field Museum of Natural History, $750,000 to purchase and install a new air handling unit and
ductwork to service the southwest quadrant of the museum. Total project cost $2.25
• Garfield Park Conservatory, $750,000 to create a multi-tiered structure with tropical plantings,
interactive seating, an exhibit observation area, nature sorting station, pathways and
³secret spaces.² Total project cost $3.3 million.
• The Grove, Glenview, $80,500 to expand archival storage space including a work space and
teaching area. Total project cost $130,000.
• Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, $70,100 for exterior restoration and
rehabilitation of Cicero Firehouse Number 2 that will become the new museum and
history center. Total project cost $291,300.
• Lincoln Park Zoo, $750,000 to help construct an exhibit. Total project cost $3.1 million.
• Museum of Science & Industry, $750,000 to reconstruct the upper and lower portions of the
North Wall of the Central Pavilion. Total project cost $2.25 million.
• Oak Park Observatory, $146,000 to develop an interactive outdoor display garden with
programmed educational experiences. Total project cost $196,000.
• Wildwood Nature Center, Park Ridge, $225,000 for new exhibits and interpretive signs, a new
kiosk and map, ADA accessible trails, and an open air shelter. Total project cost
• Shedd Aquarium, $750,000 to protect and stabilize the building exterior. Total project cost
$2.25 million.
DeKalb County
• Ellwood House Museum, $126,400 to replace the roof and large terrace tile, including
foundation pier rebuilding, tile beds and ADA platform lift. Total project cost $126,400.
DuPage County
• Fischer Farm, Bensenville Park District, $108,200 to restore a pre-Civil War storage barn and
hen house. Total project cost $108,200.
• Downers Grove Park District Museum, $135,000 to restore an Underground Railroad stopover
including interior work and exhibit creation. Total project cost $226,000.
• DuPage Children's Museum, $240,200 to develop an active wet area in the Dynamic Tables
exhibit showing the weight and power of moving water to harness energy. Total project
cost $1.29 million.
• Mayslake Peabody Estate, DuPage County Forest Preserve District, $215,000 to restore the
outside back courtyard elevation of Mayslake Hall. Total project cost $525,500.
• Springbrook Nature Center Museum, Itasca, $335,000 to replace three climate control units,
water heater, siding, roofing, insulation, upgrade ADA accessibility and outdoor signs.
Total project cost $487,500.
• Naper Settlement, Naperville, $629,200 to replace the electrical grid on the 12-acre museum
campus. Total project cost $670,700.
• DuPage County Historical Museum, Wheaton, $600,800 to replace roof with accurate red slate
roofing, tuckpointing and copper gutter replacement. Total project cost $625,800.
Jersey County
• City of Grafton Museum. $640,000 to add a 1550-square-foot addition to the existing Visitor
Center. Total project cost $650,000.
Kane County
• Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, Aurora, $750,000 for cabinetry restoration, woodwork
and floor finishing, partition walls, lighting, climate control and emergency systems.
Total project cost $1.07 million.
• Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, St. Charles, $130,400 to create an indoor/outdoor glacialthemed
exhibit including interpretive kiosks and learning stations. Total project cost
Lake County
• The Raupp Museum, Buffalo Grove, $51,000 to remove an existing mural and create a store
front exhibit including interactive detailing transportation innovations. Total project cost
• Lake County Discovery Museum, $750,000 to renovate the lower level of an office building to
create permanent storage space for the museum¹s historic collections. Total project cost
$1.24 million.
Macon County
• Scovill Zoo, Decatur, $413,700 for a walk-through aviary and crowned crane exhibit, pavilion,
ADA walkway and a generator. Total project cost $463,700.
McHenry County
• Lost Valley Visitor Center, $400,000 to create exhibits for the Visitor Center in the Glacial
Park Conservation Area. Total project cost $400,000.
McLean County
• Miller Park Zoo, Bloomington, $700,000 for a new DeBrazza¹s Monkey exhibit, renovations
to the zoo¹s Entrance Building and an additional parking lot. Total project cost $720,000.
• McLean County Museum of History, $254,800 to rehabilitate historic lighting systems and
relocate and build new restrooms. Total project cost $254,800.
• Children¹s Discovery Museum, Normal, $116,800 for new floor to ceiling Air Mazes,
Bernoulli Table and Wind Energy Station. Total project cost $124,800.
Ogle County
• Byron Museum of History, $351,400 to remodel the Quonset hut attached to the museum to
provide more exhibit space. Total project cost $401,400.
Peoria County
• Forest Park Nature Center, Peoria, $250,000 for seven interactive exhibits - native animals,
topographical dioramas, bird watching, watershed and hill prairies. Total project cost
Rock Island County
• Quad City Botanical Center, Rock Island, $520,000 to construct the Headwaters component
needed to complete the Mini-Mississippi River exhibit. Total project cost $616,000.
Stephenson County
• Stephenson County Historical Society, Freeport, $399,000 to remove and replace existing
artifact storage and display area to include water and sewer service and make it ADA
accessible. The entry drive will also be widened. Total project cost $499,000.
Will County
• Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Bolingbrook, $104,500 to construct a wood pavilion with
fireplace, tables and seating. Total project cost $104,500.
• Bird Haven Greenhouse, Joliet, $741,000 to install a glass ceiling, shad cloth and new growing
houses. Total project cost $741,000.
• Isle a la Cache Museum, Forest Preserve District of Will County, $270,000 to renovate and
reconstruct a Native American longhouse, ADA upgrades, garden, campfire circle and
landscaping. Total project cost $270,000.
Winnebago County
• Discovery Center Museum, Rockford, $294,000 to replace and refurbish exhibits for ADA
accessibility, and to expand the early childhood gallery. Total project cost $294,000.
• Rockford Art Museum, $369,000 to upgrade storage, handling and prep work. Total project
cost $369,000.
• Veterans Memorial Hall, Rockford, $251,900 to create and install exhibit cabinetry, repair a
Civil War statue and prepare the site for outdoor monument placement. Total project cost