Funds to underwrite community-wide initiative on aquafers and water conservation
Exploration Place, The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center has received its first ever federal grant for $147,759 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Museums for America grant program.
The grant will fund the project, Water: Kansas in Crisis and will enable the museum to create a 400 square-foot exhibit about how aquifers and water management could help solve water shortages in the state. The exhibit is part of the rejuvenation plan for the museum’s 4,700 square-foot exhibit pavilion Exploring Our Only Home.
“We are thrilled and honored to receive this grant that will allow us to lead an informed discussion with the community on how to address water supply, maintenance and management issues in our state,” said Jan Luth Exploration Place President. “We look forward to working with program partners, visitors and community groups who will help us create accurate and meaningful educational exhibits and programs,” Luth said. “It is our hope that this effort will also foster better consumer decisions about water use, encourage open communication with government decision-makers and ultimately encourage informed water conservation efforts.”
Several organizations and agencies have committed to help with this community-wide initiative including:
- Great Plains Nature Center
- Kansas Water Office
- Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education
- Regional Economic Area Partnership
- Sedgwick County Environmental Resources
- Sedgwick County Extension Office
- Wichita Water Department
- The WATER Center.
“We are currently in a time of reduced water availability due to droughts and overuse of water supplies,” said Susan Erlenwein, director of the Sedgwick County Environmental Resources and Household Hazardous Waste Facility. “I have found that many people tend to appreciate and protect what they best understand. I believe that this new exhibit at Exploration Place will provide easy-to-understand information on where water comes from, how it is used, and how to best conserve it for generations to come,” Erlenwein said.
In addition to the aquifer exhibit, the IMLS grant will:
- fund the development of ten educational programs for summer campers, museum visitors, seniors, and teachers
- create a special event for the community celebrating water and tips on how to conserve this resource
This year IMLS received 521 applications requesting $53,903,405. Of these, 202 projects were selected to receive funding totaling $20,207,105.
Exploration Place’s aquafer exhibit, educational programs and a special water festival are scheduled for fall 2016.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The organization’s mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.
Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages 11 immersive hands-on exhibit galleries, Kansas’ largest domed theater – the Boeing Dome Theater and Planetarium – an 18-hole MiniGolf putting green, outdoor park and picnic grove, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, Kan.