Foundation awards $7.23 million to Air and Space Museum

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has awarded more than $7 million to an innovative museum collaborative — the Oklahoma Museum Network — that will tour high-quality museum exhibits throughout Oklahoma. The museum network will present its first hands-on science and discovery-learning exhibits within a year.
The Tulsa member of the network is the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Other members include the Omniplex Science Museum in Oklahoma City, Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole, Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse in Enid, and the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton. Each museum is committed to providing hands-on discovery learning to Oklahoma families, students and educators.
The five-year grant, totaling $7,232,859, is the result of a four-year planning process that involved the nation’s top discovery-learning and museum experts as well as in-depth conversations with Oklahoma educators, students, families and staff at each museum to determine the needs of Oklahomans for improving science education experiences.
By combining their resources and dramatically improving those “ah-ha” learning moments for children at Oklahoma museums, the network’s five museum partners will improve educational opportunities for Oklahoma’s 624,875 elementary school children and their families, including those in rural areas.
In the first year alone, five engaging hands-on exhibits will be developed. These exhibits will tour among the partner museums. Additionally, network museums will participate in nationally-recognized training programs designed to advance museum programs, fundraising and strategic planning efforts. Oklahoma’s teachers will have opportunities to attend learning programs through the network as well. These will be aimed at improving the hands-on science learning experiences within Oklahoma’s classrooms.
Also, a “museum on wheels” housing an immersive, interactive science experience will be developed for travel to rural areas engaging students in the outer most regions of the state.
Omniplex Science Museum is the “hub” for the statewide network and will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant.

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