The Las Vegas-based Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has announced a $7.37 million grant to fund a museum collaborative that will tour exhibits throughout Arkansas.
The five-year grant, which comes after two years of statewide planning by the Arkansas Children's Discovery Center Network, will focus on making interactive museum experiences more accessible to the state's nearly 500,000 schoolchildren and their families. In addition to sharing exhibits, the network's members will share best practices, work to improve outreach to teachers and expand educational programs, and increase member's capacity so that they operate more efficiently.
Network members include the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, the Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, the Texarkana Museums System in Texarkana, the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, and the Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro. The Center for Mathematics and Science Education in Fayetteville will host network exhibits until a permanent northwest Arkansas museum partner is identified.
"We know that many children in Arkansas seldom, if ever, have the opportunity to engage in the exciting experiential learning that comes from visiting our nation's first-rate discovery museums," said Reynolds Foundation chairman Fred W. Smith. "The Discovery Network will allow children even in the most remote parts of the state to share in the hands-on learning and the sheer fun that comes from experiencing wonderful museum exhibits."