News Local/State

Mahomet Museum Nets State Grant

By Jeff Bossert

A museum celebrating east central Illinois’ natural and cultural history is one of more than 50 benefiting from state capital funds.

The Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet is getting $57,571 as part of the Illinois Jobs Now program.

Museum Assistant Director Barb Garvey said the main gallery exhibit needs some refurbishing after 12 years. 

She said the grant dollars will pay for new audio-visual displays, and interactive exhibits in environmental education and plant science.

“There’s five forest preserve elements," Garvey said.  "But just here at the museum, we see between 4,000 and 5,000 school children a year. We’ll be able to use exhibits to teach to all those disciplines.”

Garvey said the same grant program funded an education center at the museum that opened last fall.  The new grant is expected to fund two years of exhibits. 

The Museum of the Grand Prairie opens for the year in March, starting with a temporary exhibit on famed architect Joseph Royer, and another on the formation of glaciers, and how they sculpted the landscape in the area.   

The Children’s Discovery Museum of Normal is getting $209,000 to build the ‘My Great Backyard’ construction project.  

The grants also includes the Heritage in Flight Museum in Logan County, which will receive $112,518 to upgrade its display/hangar building with new electrical and HVAC systems, public safety improvements, and ADA accessibility.