Public museum projects get $19.7 million in grants

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. (Photo courtesy of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois)

Thirty-six Illinois museums will receive a total of $19.7 million in state capital investments to improve their facilities and develop new exhibits, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced.

The investments are made possible through the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, funded by the governor’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program, the first in nearly a decade.

“Rebuilding Illinois means investing in all types of infrastructure that improve communities and the quality of life for local residents. That includes an investment in the museums that protect our cultural heritage and offer unique programs and events for visitors to enjoy,” Pritzker said. “I am pleased to see the array of improvements and exhibits that will happen as a result of our 2022 Public Museum Capital Grants, made possible through the Rebuild Illinois capital program.”

The Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is open to any museum operated by local government or located on municipally owned land. The maximum grant award for projects is $750,000, and matching funds are required in many cases based on museum attendance levels.

Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook. (Photo courtesy of DuPage County Forest District)

“Museums are an important economic driver and point of pride in communities throughout Illinois,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Providing funding for capital improvements and exciting new exhibits helps to create jobs, attract more visitors, and boost local tourism.”

The Illinois Public Museums awarded Capital Grants are listed below. More information about the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program is available online at

Capital Grants 2021 Program Awards

Champaign County

Champaign County Forest Preserve District, Museum of the Grand Prairie, Discovery Garden — $726,900

Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet. (Photo courtesy of Champaign County Forest Preserve District)

Cook County

Arlington Heights Park District, 1908 Banta House Porch Restoration — $30,000
Chicago Academy of Science, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum — $750,000
Chicago Children’s Museum, Cleaner Air / Health and Safety Project — $572,500
Chicago History Museum, exterior building improvements —$750,000
Chicago Zoological Society, Seven Seas roof replacement — $666,600
Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan Avenue lobby, window removal and replacement — $750,000
Garfield Park Conservatory, Child Wild Nature Exploration Garden — $749,500
Glenview Park District, The Grove Interpretive Center Phase 2 exhibits — $375,000
Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois, genocide exhibition — $750,000
Lincoln Park Zoo, capital improvements — $750,000
Museum of Science and Industry, parking garage exhaust fan system replacement — $200,000
National Museum for Mexican Art, Project Green Room: Setting the Stage for World Class Performing Arts — $750,000
Park Ridge PD, Wildwood Nature Center, Forestview renovation — $750,000
Schaumburg PD, Spring Valley Nature Center-Heritage Farm — $700,000

Nancy Kimball Cobblestone House. (Photo courtesy of the Elgin Area Historical Society)

DuPage County

DuPage Children’s Museum, “Questioners: Think. Question. Read. Play!” exhibit —$302,700
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Mayslake Peabody Estate — $750,000
Elmhurst Art Museum, roofing and HVAC renewal — $750,000
City of Elmhurst, community performance venue — $698,500
Itasca Park District, Springbrook Nature Center improvements — $375,000
Naperville Heritage Society, Naper Settlement Digital Experience Welcome Zone — $749,700
Wheaton Park District, DuPage County Historical Museum — $750,000

Kane County

Dundee Township Park District, Randall Oaks Zoo Small Animal Building — $750,000
Elgin Area Historical Society, Nancy Kimball Cobblestone House project — $64,200
St. Charles Park District, Primrose Farm Agricultural Lab —$750,000

Lake County

Lake County Forest Preserve District, Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County, HVAC system modifications — $161,100

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington and Katthoefer Animal Building. (Photo courtesy of

Lake/Cook counties

Buffalo Grove Park District, The Raupp Museum, educational gardens — $226,500

McHenry County

Crystal Lake Park District, Nature Center — $363,000

McLean County

City of Bloomington, Katthoefer Animal Building small exhibits, basement renovation —$750,000

Rock Island County

Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, Niabi Zoo Prairie Dog Exhibit — $436,100
City of Rock Island, Quad City Botanical Center Children’s Garden Phase III — $750,000

Sangamon County

Springfield and Central Illinois African History Museum (City of Springfield), African American History Museum expansion — $662,545
City of Springfield, Kidzeum STEAM Center — $355,400

Nancy Kimball Cobblestone House. (Photo courtesy of the Elgin Area Historical Society)

Winnebago County

Rockford Art Museum, D/E Riverfront Museum Park HVAC replacement project — $301,000
Rockford Park District, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum — $104,000
Discovery Center Museum of Rockford, capital improvement project — $433,200