KidZone Museum earns major grant from museum institute |

KidZone Museum earns major grant from museum institute

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; Thanks to the $150,000 “Museum for America” grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the KidZone Museum in Truckee is moving forward to develop its science curriculum and programs for children younger than 10. The grant supports “SCIENTASTIC,” during the next three years.

“Continuous improvement of our overall financial viability is critical for the Museum in order to create valuable programs with a solid infrastructure, making this grant so important to our growth,” said Carol Meagher, executive director, KidZone Museum.

“We continue to strive to be recognized as a leader in innovative education for children, and a community mainstay for families. This grant is assisting in keeping our dream alive.”

This science project strengthens the KidZone Museum’s ability to engage its growing diverse audience in the exploration of innovative science, including ecology and earth sciences and the Museum’s new Outdoor Nature Play Center.

The initial SCIENTASTIC programs will be specifically hands-on science-based programming in ecology, chemistry and earth sciences, heavily influenced by the Museum’s natural surroundings which include thousands of acres of protected forest and watersheds.

Programming will benefit from the expertise in professional development offered by the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of Reno scientists and the teachings by various museum collaborators.

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A main goal of the SCIENTASTIC program is to help decrease the national gaps in science education for students from low-income and poorly educated families, offering them a place to learn and explore.

The program intends to reach as many children and families as possible by also participating in community science events and programs. By participating in offsite science events, the SCIENTASTIC project will reach children who aren’t able to visit the KidZone Museum.

“Our rural location, winter-like weather for several months and limited community gathering spots like museums, make it difficult for families to get together. Having an innovative science program will increase engagement of the community in all our museum programs,” Meagher added.

Each year the KidZone Museum overall visitation grows by more than 2,000 visits. A key component to this increase are the ongoing efforts made through successful outreach to the underserved in the Truckee/ North Lake Tahoe region. For example, the Museum’s 2006-2010 IMLS-funded program, KidsReach, successfully increased low-income Latino family attendance by 800 percent.

The KidsReach program offers affordable memberships, financial assistance and personal interactions with families in order to give them an opportunity to partake in the programs.

The children of low-income families have limited access to hands-on learning, community engagement and are at risk for depression, failing in school and child abuse.

The KidsReach program was created to address these issues by providing very young children and their families with transportation to the Museum to partake in social and educational programs as a family.

“Congratulations to the Museums for America grantees. We are pleased to support museums through investments in high-priority, high value activities that benefit communities throughout the US. These museums, small and large, will help to educate and inspire the public for years to come,” said Susan Hildreth, director at Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Museums for America is the Institute’s largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacity to serve their communities.

For additional information about the KidZone Museum, please contact Carol Meagher, executive director, at

The KidZone Museum is a non-profit children’s museum located in Truckee with exhibits designed to engage a young child’s curiosity with an array of repeat play activities. The KidZone Museum is located at 11711 Donner Pass Road, in Truckee. For additional information, visit www.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. To learn more about the Institute, please visit