Governor Pat Quinn today announced a $1 million investment that will start construction on the Kidzeum of Health and Science, a new children’s museum on East Adams Street in downtown Springfield. The investment from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will help turn a vacant building into an interactive family attraction just a few blocks from the city’s world-famous Abraham Lincoln sites. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to increase tourism, create jobs and drive economic development throughout Illinois.
“I am proud of what our Capitol City has to offer, and the Kidzeum will help provide children with new and exciting educational opportunities,” Governor Quinn said. “Abraham Lincoln loved children, and the city he called home is following his lead by developing this wonderful interactive facility.”
“On behalf of our Board, our donors and the tens of thousands of Children who will benefit, I want to extend my gratitude to Governor Quinn for making Kidzeum a reality,” Kidzeum Board Chair Rachel Thomson said. “This development offers families in Illinois an outlet for learning and growth for generations to come.”
The remainder of the construction funding came from a Tax Increment Financing District grant of $675,000 from the city of Springfield, as well as private donations. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was contingent on Kidzeum receiving the $1 million investment from the State of Illinois.
“The Kidzeum has moved from a long-time dream to a reality today as a result of the $1 million grant from the State of Illinois. This investment will provide visitors another reason to visit and stay in Springfield and Illinois,” Springfield Mayor Mike Houston said. “It is a much-needed, child-oriented venue that will entertain and provide a unique element of activity while bringing economic vibrancy to the downtown.”
Construction on the Kidzeum will begin later this year with completion in 2015. The $5 million facility will occupy property at 412, 414 and 416 East Adams St. The museum will teach children about health, wellness and the environment’s impact on global health. This will be accomplished through fun and engaging, hands-on, age-appropriate exhibits designed to promote intergenerational learning in a safe and enjoyable environment. A wide variety of programs and services will be offered at the new facility for children, families, schools and the medical community including field trips, CPR/First Aid classes, science and health programs, intergenerational learning, outreach programs, child development, parenting education programs and summer camps.
A sliding scale admission fee will help offset ongoing operational costs. The new Children’s Museum will provide an additional attraction for visiting families and a great boost to the Springfield area tourism economy. It will join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln Home, Old State Capitol, Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Dana-Thomas House, Vachel Lindsay Home and other downtown Springfield attractions that already welcome approximately one million visitors per year.