The Children's Discovery Museum received a $209,000 grant Thursday. (Photo By B Corbin/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
NORMAL - The Children's Discovery Museum can move forward with a new exhibit geared towards toddlers after getting a major grant Thursday.
Gov. Pat Quinn's office announced a round of grants that are part of the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, which included $209,000 for the CDM's "My Great Backyard" exhibit.
"Right now, probably seventy percent or so of our member familes have a child under the age of five," Museum Manager Sheila Riley said. "So developing a space for four-year-olds and under is wonderful. It's great that we're going to be able to dedicate some space to this age group."
The exhibit will be about 900 square feet and will be located on the first floor, adjacent to the already-existing toddler space, said Riley. It will include an exploration area with an outdoor theme.
"We're looking at having a clubhouse, a lilypad hopscotch area, an area where the little ones can have a picnic with their parents and just a lot of areas for traditional free play for the kids," Riley said.
The project is actually the second in the museum's long-term plan. It will cost $269,000, with the difference being paid for with money from museum fundraisers and other grants.
"We have really been hoping for this money so we can develop and expand the toddler area, so I am just incredibly excited about this," Riley said.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.