ASU Museum tinkers with new grant

By Jamie Alvord
On January 27, 2014

The A-State Museum recently received a grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation for $28,000 that will go toward paying for future traveling exhibits and cover costs of needed educational supplies.

Jill Kary, museum curator of education, said because the museum didn’t have enough money in its budget, they had to go looking for the money. While awaiting response of another financial request, the museum was granted the $28,000, which will be used to fund their ongoing membership to the Arkansas Discovery Network (ADN).
Brittany Haught, a sophomore early childhood education major and museum staff member, said, “I think (the ADN) will give more opportunities to get the best exhibits for kids to come and enjoy. It really just keeps the museum running.”
The grant from the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation will also go towards hiring a tour coordinator for the museum. Museum instructor Paige Creed will now be able to do outreach work by traveling to schools to teach.

In addition, the grant will help purchase supplies for the Tinkering Studio. The Tinkering Studio allows visitors of all ages to return to their childlike curiosity and create, tamper and tinker with marble tracks, circuits and crafts.

“Our Tinkering Studio is the biggest in the (ADN). It can’t be open without a staff member, and we only have four staff,” museum curator Kary said. “Without the King Foundation, we wouldn’t be able to keep that open very much.”

This studio does not travel with the other exhibits. The grant will aid in paying for educational supplies and traveling. Staff members are able to go to teaching workshops in order to better educate students who visit the museum.
Since 2006 the museum has been a member of the ADN, an organization encompassing six other museums throughout Arkansas, which provides engaging interactive travelling exhibits to members. Other network members include the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Amazeum in Bentonville and the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover. Each year, members of all six museums in the ADN collaborate to develop their exhibits. The Network is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and calls for an annual membership fee of $10,000.
“This membership allows them access to $90,000 to $100,000 worth of programs and exhibitions per year that they don’t have to pay for individually, so it’s definitely worth it,” museum director Marti Allen said. “The exhibits we get that we love the most are the children’s hands-on exhibits that are STEM supportive. It is self-guided according to their own interests.”

Members of ADN are also granted $1,200 per year in travel expenses that fund field trips to see other Network-sponsored exhibits.

The museum’s Tinkering Studio is open Tuesdays 2-7 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 2-5 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays 1-5 p.m., and is welcome for any student or visitor to enjoy. Every other Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. the museum sponsors Tink Tank, a science and engineering event.

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