Connecting Our Future

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Last month we told you about "Connecting Our Future,” a $12.5 million capital campaign for the Burpee Museum and the Discovery Center.

Every year the Burpee Museum and the Discovery Center draw more than 300,000 people collectively to their institutions, and now the two museums are partnering up to enhance the area's cultural and educational offerings, ultimately planting a seed to help invigorate downtown development.

"Expansion will include a traveling exhibit hall, also a new home for Jane, our new dinosaur," says Burpee Museum director, Lew Cranton.

"What children's museums are finding is that they're getting younger visitors looking for more meaningful experiences for their pre-school children and so we're going to nearly double the size of our tot spot gallery," says Discovery Center marketing manager, Ann Marie Walker.

Cranton says Rockford is going through a renaissance and the collaborative effort between two strong museums will draw more people to downtown Rockford, thereby increasing the city's tourism.

"What's been demonstrated time and time again is that construction of cultural institutions will make a positive impact on downtown development. We're talking dollars and cents here," says Cranton.

"We're already bringing a tremendous number of people to the region and these people will need to get gas, eat lunch and dinner," says Walker.

Leaders from both institutions believe the expansion will facilitate a rebirth for the community on educational, economic and cultural levels securing a bright and prosperous future for every party involved.

The project is being financed through donations. So far a half a million dollars has been raised for the campaign.