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Museum Awarded $43,490 Grant for Children’s Programs and Membership in Arkansas Discovery Network


JONESBORO – Arkansas State University Museum announced today it has received a $43,490 grant from the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation.

The grant will enable ASU Museum to provide unmatched informal learning opportunities of artistic, cultural and historical significance to regional school-age children and their families by extending its membership in the Arkansas Discovery Network through 2018.

This network of six Arkansas museums is funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. As a network member, ASU Museum has access to changing hands-on exhibits and other discovery-based programs that support science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM).  

“We strive to provide a thriving level of informal learning techniques that thrill children and help teachers and parents introduce children to progressive fields of the future,” said Dr. Marti L. Allen, director of ASU Museum. “Network membership in 2018 will entitle us to nearly $1 million of quality, STEAM-supportive exhibits and hands-on programing that we could not otherwise afford.”

ASU Museum has been a member of the Arkansas Discovery Network since 2006. Among the network exhibits hosted by ASU Museum that visitors enjoyed are "Grossology" in 2008, "Mystery of the Mayan Medallion" in 2009, "Design Zone" in 2013, "Mindbender Mansion" in 2014, and "Building Buddies" in 2016.  The current network-sponsored exhibit is "Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed."

The Museum received its highly popular “Tinkering Studio” from the Arkansas Discovery Network. Custom-designed for the museum by the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the Tinkering Studio provides an exceptionally effective environment for informal and intergenerational learning. Here, joined by siblings and guardians, children self-guide through a shop of kid-friendly tools, gears and other devices and discover, for example, how circuits work, how to use math to create art and how to create their own animations.

“Kids and adults alike love discovery learning, as we know from our Tinkering Studio and the fact that well over 1,000 people attended last weekend’s TinkerFest,” stated curator of education Jill Kary. “In fact, we see remarkable transformations every day – as they have fun with learning, adults become children.”

Network-sponsored exhibits scheduled for 2018 include "Imaginate" and "Magnificent Me," both of which have attained popularity in other American venues and are nationally renowned. During 2018 ASU Museum education staff also will receive network-sponsored professional training in new techniques of discovery learning.

This is the third grant ASU Museum has received from the King Foundation in support of membership in the Arkansas Discovery Network.  The King Foundation funded the museum’s network membership in 2012 and again in 2014.

“We are so thankful for the continuous friendship and support of the Carl B. & Florence King Foundation,” stated Jessica Blackburn, director of foundation relations in the Office of University Advancement.

“The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation’s support through the years has greatly supported our objectives to foster learning as a family value, especially in rural and underserved areas,” said Allen. “For us success starts with a single child awakening to the possibility that learning is fun – we posit that one child having fun at ASU Museum starts a ripple effect that moves in many directions at once.”

Carl B. & Florence E. King started the Foundation that bears their names in 1966, beginning with gifts from Mr. and Mrs. King, as well as a later bequest from their daughter, Dorothy. The Foundation’s area of focus in Arkansas is the Delta and southern Arkansas, where it awards grants in the categories of aging population; arts, culture, and history; children and youth; education; indigent; and nonprofit capacity.

ASU Museum was awarded in the category of arts, culture, and history “to enhance learning in school-age children, or extend the benefit of the arts to children, the elderly, and others who might not otherwise have access.” For more information about the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, one may visit http://www.kingfoundation.com/.

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